1. ITV Report

Large rhea bird on the loose around east Hertfordshire

The missing rhea photographed in a field in Nuthampstead. Photo: Ray Murdoch

A village in east Hertfordshire is on the lookout after a large bird similar to an emu was seen wandering in the fields.

The rhea went missing from its owner four weeks ago in Brent Pelham - it is around four feet tall and has been spotted several times, but, with it being able to hit speeds of 40 miles per hour, so far no-one has been able to catch it.

Ray Murdoch caught sight of the bird on a bike ride through Nuthampstead. He managed to take a few photos before it ran off.

Sighting of the rhea in Nuthampstead. Credit: Ray Murdoch

"In the distance I saw what appeared to be a large bird, the closer I got the more perplexed I got, I thought it was a crane, I got closer, no it isn't, I thought it was an ostrich, by the time I drew almost level to it, it was looking over its shoulder at me, trotting along, and I thought it was an emu."

– Ray Murdoch

The bird which escaped from its home near a village called Brent Pelham has been on the loose for the past four weeks. It belongs to Jo Clarke. She keeps four rheas on her land - she says they are good at eating all the weeds. She said: "The bird escaped after being spooked by the local hunt."

With it being able to run at up to 40 miles per hour, she just has no idea of how to recapture it.

There have been plenty of sightings near Brent Pelham.

The rhea can run up to 40 miles per hour. Credit: Ray Murdoch

"It's been in local villages, Amstey, Nuthampstead, mainly people can't believe their eyes… It has spooked horses, it could potentially get on the road…. It's a domesticated animal and it should be somewhere safe, the good thing about it is there is plenty of food and the weather's nice so it's as happy as anything!"

– Jane Garner, Brent Pelham resident

The rhea should stand out from the Hertfordshire landscape, but it is also known for being extremely timid.

The RSPCA is urging anyone who spots the bird to get in contact with them immediately.