One of Wilsontown’s escaped rheas is back behind bars!

Scottish SPCA members close in on the runaway rhea  (Pic by SSPCA)
Scottish SPCA members close in on the runaway rhea (Pic by SSPCA)

A rhea that has been on the loose for a month has finally been captured by the Scottish SPCA - but another is still at large.

The Forestry Commission had been attempting to trace and recapture the creature which had escaped, along with another rhea, from a small holding in Wilsontown, Forth.

One of the Wilsontown rheas at large   (Pic by SSPCA)

One of the Wilsontown rheas at large (Pic by SSPCA)

One of the birds was spotted in a field area near to Wilsontown on Wednesday but unfortunately the Forestry Commission officers were elswewhere at another incident and unable to assist.

As a result, officers from Scotland’s animal welfare charity attended the scene and, with the help of a local farmer and members of the public, were able to capture the bird safely.

The rhea was transported to a holding nearby overnight before being transferred to Auchingarrich Wildlife Park in Comrie, where he will remain.

Inspector Heather Lawson said, “The story of the stray rhea, first thought to be an ostrich, has caused a bit of a stir, with people regularly reporting sightings of it.

“I wasn’t sure how we would be able to catch it given the vast area of woodland it was on.

“However, with a stroke of luck a local farmer spotted the rhea in a field just off Tashieburn Road.

“With the help of fellow officers, members of the public and the local farmers, we were able to keep the rhea confined long enough to construct a holding pen before being able to load him safely into a trailer.

“The process was relatively straight forward and stress free and the rhea seems none the worse for its adventure.”

And she added: “This was an example of partnership working between the Scottish SPCA, the Forestry Commission and helpful members of the public.

“We’re really pleased we have been able to catch him and that he will be able to spend his life at the wildlife park in the company of other rheas.

“Thankfully, this story has a happy ending and we’d like to thank those who spent their time helping with the rescue.”

Information is still being sought to help trace the exact location of the second escaped rhea currently loose in the same area.

Anyone who has any further details should contact the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.