Rhea on the road: owner takes pet bird for a city centre stroll

The rhea and its owner (in blue shirt). Photo: Dieren Ambulance via Twitter
The rhea and its owner (in blue shirt). Photo: Dieren Ambulance via Twitter

Police and the animal ambulance service in Amsterdam say they have been inundated with phone calls after a rhea was spotted strolling through the city centre streets.

The flightless South American bird was, apparently, out for a walk with its owner who, according to the animal ambulance service, has all the proper paperwork to own a bird of this size.

‘You don’t need to be stoned to see a greater rhea out walking,’ the organisation said on Twitter.

According to the Telegraaf the owner was walking around the city centre with the bird to raise awareness for a charity.

Nevertheless, a spokesman for the animal ambulance service told the Parool they had doubts about the impact of the busy city centre on the animal. ‘In general, birds are sensitive to stress, so I don’t know if it is a good idea to walk around the city centre with one,’ the spokesman said.

Rhea are farmed in Europe in a way similar to the emu and ostrich. They mainly produce meat and eggs but rhea oil is also used in cosmetics. The leather is also traded.

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