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Runaway rhea shot dead and 'to be made into sausages'

A runaway rhea named Rita who escaped from her enclosure in Hertfordshire almost two months ago has been shot dead by a gamekeeper - and will reportedly be turned into gourmet sausages.

Rheas are flightless birds native to South America. Credit: PA

The six-foot bird, which is native to South America, was killed by a single shot to the head by Stuart Howe, who told the The Daily Telegraph he understood that the police wanted the bird "out of the way" because they were worried that it could cause a car crash

Mr Howe, who is a deer manager, said it was better a professional marksman brought down the bird, and said the meat would be made into gourmet sausages.

"I suppose some people might say it is a shame the rhea is dead but it would be terrible if it caused someone to die in a car crash," the 65-year-old told the newspaper.

A Hertfordshire Police spokesman said that the bird's owner had previously given permission for the bird to be "dispatched if the situation deemed it necessary, which was the case" and was aware of its death.

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Newborn goat nicknamed 'octogoat' for its eight legs

A farmer from Croatia thought he was seeing double when his goat Sarka gave birth to an eight-legged baby, nicknamed 'octogoat'.

Vets believe the newborn's condition is the result of an under-developed twin sibling because it has both male and female reproductive organs.

It is highly unlikely the goat will survive, according to local vets. Credit: PA

Vets have said it is highly unlikely the goat will survive but if it lives past the first week, it may go on to live for two or three years.

The 'octogoat' as both male and female reproductive organs. Credit: PA

UK dog lover rescues stray who had legs chopped off

A dog whose abusive owners chopped off its two front legs is set to walk again thanks to a British dog-lover who brought him from Romania to the UK for treatment.

Six-year-old stray dog Colin, whose owners in Romania cut off his two front legs. Credit: SWNS Group

Colin's front legs had been deliberately amputated and he had been walking on the stumps when he was rescued by dog-lover Claire Revis, who was told about the animal's plight by a friend working with stray dogs in Romania.

The 48-year-old from Brighouse, West Yorkshire, said: "He was found in a horrendous state, he'd been walking on bare bones, the skin on his two front legs had come off and he had a lot of infection.

Colin is now living in the UK and awaiting treatment that will help him walk again. Credit: SWNS Group

"He'd probably lost them months before; the vets said they'd been chopped off deliberately."

Colin is now in Britain and has begun treatment to be fitted with prosthetic limbs but requires more surgery.

Ms Revis has so far raised £7,500 of the £9,500 needed to pay for the care.

"The £3,000 to buy his actual limbs has already been donated by the charity Finding Furever Homes," Ms Revis said.

China approves 10-year jail terms for eating rare animals

The rising number of people eating rare animals in China has prompted the country to introduce tough new jail sentences that could see offenders jailed for 10 years or more.

China will jail people who eat rare animals, including the panda, for 10 years or more Credit: Reuters

Spending thousands of yuan to eat rare or endangered animals is considered a status symbol among some of the country's wealthiest people.

A new interpretation of the criminal law passed yesterday "clears up ambiguities about buyers of prey of illegal hunting" and means people found eating protected animals face jail sentences ranging from three years to more than 10 years, Xinhua said.

China lists 420 species as rare or endangered, including the panda, golden monkeys, Asian black bears and pangolins.

"Eating rare wild animals is not only bad social conduct but also a main reason why illegal hunting has not been stopped despite repeated crackdowns," said Lang Sheng, deputy head of parliament's Legislative Affairs Commission.

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Car 'overheats' forcing family to flee from lion's den

Helen Clements and her children Charlie and George told ITV News that her car had "overheated", causing the family to abandon the vehicle at a lion enclosure at Longleat Safari Park.

Ms Clements said: "What we thought we better do is, because what you are supposed to do is sound your horn, so we did. But my son George thought he better get out the car, so he opened the door, and got out the car. And I just said "George don't get out of the car"".

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Lions 150m from cars at Longleat

The spokesman for Longleat Safari Park said that the visitors involved in the incident were believed to be a mother and her son and daughter who were aged around 12 or 13. Visitors said the lions were 150 metres from the people carrier when the incident happened and the car was left "burnt out".

The family remained in the smoking vehicle until the rangers arrived, and the car caught fire when they had left the area. Longleat staff said at no point were the mother and children waiting outside their vehicle.

Cars were cleared from the area following the fire to make way for the fire service, but the park was up and running again shortly after.

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