South American rhea survives in wild in Hampshire for two years after escaping owner

A rhea similar to one living wild in Hampshire

A rhea similar to one living wild in Hampshire

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Winchester Chief Reporter

A BIRD native to South America has survived for two years in the wild in Hampshire after escaping from its owner, it has emerged.

A shocked motorist spotted the rhea by the side of a lane in north Hampshire.

The ostrich-like flightless bird was seen on a road between Long Sutton and Odiham near Basingstoke.

The bird is “known to police” and the RSPCA having escaped from its owner about two years ago and has so far evaded attempts to capture it.

A statement from Hampshire police’s Countrywatch division said: “Generally the bird keeps itself to itself and clearly appears to be coping with living in the wild. The RSPCA states that there are no concerns for its welfare and it does not pose any threat to the public.”

Rheas are found in South America and are smaller than ostriches. They also have a feathered neck and three toes.

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