Blackpool’s RSPCA and animal rescue volunteers were called to a most unusual creature in need.
A rhea – a large, South American fightless bird related to the ostrich and emu – was spotted running wild in a field in Poulton on Monday. The RSPCA was called by the landowner, as well as people from Blackpool animal rescue group Homeward Bound.
They successfully captured the rhea – which only had one eye – on Tuesday morning. An RSPCA spokesman said: “We were contacted on Monday and called to a field in Poulton-after the landowner discovered a rhea on the land.
“RSPCA officers managed to use movable metal fencing and a trailer to corral the rhea. The bird was taken into RSPCA care and is now receiving veterinary treatment.
“Rheas are large birds and have the potential to be dangerous as they are strong, fast and have sharp claws. Our advice to the general public if they come across an escaped rhea is to keep well away and contact us or police for help.”
It is not yet known where the rhea came from.
Wendy Mulela, from Homeward Bound, said: “It ran very fast. We tried to herd it into a makeshift pen but unfortunately the field was so huge that it could run through us even if we spread our arms out.
“We waited for quite a while to see if it would roost but in the end we had to leave it and the RSPCA went back in the morning and caught it.
“It was unusual. I have never had to capture a rhea before. I have herded flamingos more successfully!”
Call the RSPCA’s 24-hour number on 0300 1234 999 if you need to report animal cruelty or see an animal in distress.