Escaped rhea to stay at golf club where it has become a ‘star’

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 11, 2019 12:46

A six-feet-tall flightless bird that has roamed a Worcestershire golf course for the last three months is set to stay there because it has become so popular with the club’s staff and members.

The rhea made national headlines in October 2018 when it escaped from the village of Harvington where it had been a pet and decided to live at Evesham Golf Club – particularly because no-one at the club was able to catch the bird.

However, with fears about both the animal’s welfare and the damage it could do to both golfers and the course now allayed, it seems that the bird is going to stay at the club.

According to the BBC, golf club workers said it has become “a star” since its arrival and is “more than welcome to stay”.

Club secretary Fraser Williamson said it was “monitoring” the bird’s welfare adding the club had liaised with animal charities after it arrived in October.

“Because it has been a mild winter it has been foraging for itself and effectively has become a wild animal,” he said.

Due to its speed the bird was nicknamed Linford, after sprinter Linford Christie.

A temporary course set up while work is being carried at the site has also been named after the rhea.

Williamson said Linford was “growing bigger” and spent a lot of time by the River Avon.

“He is a talking point – people enjoy seeing him around the course,” he said. “I personally think he is fantastic.”

The rhea, which originates in South America, can reach running speeds of up to 40mph (64km/h).

There were initially fears the bird would damage the course’s well-maintained greens but it did “not seem interested” in the grass, Williamson added.

“He is not bothered by members here. He comes quite close – about 10 feet (three metres), but if you come closer he will trot off.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 11, 2019 12:46
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