A six-foot tall emu named Ethel has been on the run for six days now after managing to elude the police and RSPCA.
The ‘timid’ bird native to Australia fled her home in Donaster, South Yorkshire, last Thursday after being spooked by passers-by taking her photograph.
She has since been sighted on more than a dozen occasions in parks across the area – including near her home in Sprotbrough, and by the Trans-Pennine Trail at Cusworth – but has so far avoided capture.
On the day of her escape, on August 6, Ethel was spotted by police in Sprotbrough but ran away the moment she saw the officers.
Ethel was easily able to outpace her captors as emus can run up to 30mph.
A six-foot tall emu named Ethel has been on the run for six days now after managing to elude the police and RSPCA
Ethel the emu is the talk of south Yorkshire after being spotted by locals roaming around south Doncaster for five days now. She is seen above in Sprotbrough after evading capture last week
Ethel’s owner, Kerry Dobson, says the bird is a much loved family pet and is appealing for the public’s help to get her home
Ethel sighted in Sprotbrough last week. The long-limbed bird has managed to evade concerned locals and the authorities so far. Emus can run at speeds of more than 30mph, making them difficult to capture
Footage of Ethel on the loose in a field off Sprotbrough Road on August 7, taken by Rachael Walker. In video footage of this moment, Ms Walker can be heard saying, ‘That’s not normal’
There have also been reports of gangs of local youths pelting the terrified bird with stones.
Fast females: Emus’ quick and nasty mating habits
Emus are among the largest birds in the world. Primarily found in Australia, the species is also found in New Guinea, Indonesia, the Solomon Islands and the Philippines.
They are members of the ratite family, which also includes ostriches, cassowaries, and rheas.
Emus’ gray-to-brown feathers help protect them solar radiation so they can survive in hot climates.
They also live in grasslands, savannas, and forests, preferring areas with access to water.
These omnivores mate and nest over the Australian winter. Females have been known to fight viciously over unpaired males and mating pairs stay together for up to five months.
The male incubates the egg while the female often takes off to find another mating partner within the season.
Source: National Geographic
On Monday, the bird’s owner Kerry Dobson put out a desperate appeal to get her feathery friend back home after she suddenly escaped from their property in Doncaster.
Ms Dobson, originally from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, said ‘she’s terrified’.
‘She’s been running since Thursday so could be anywhere.
‘She’s had stones thrown at her and all sorts, she’s not used to being out she must be terrified.
‘I’m aware of all the sightings Thursday and Friday… I need to know of more recent sightings on Saturday and Sunday.’
She added: ‘We are in contact with the police and RSPCA but had no luck catching her; she just ran further [sic].
‘They couldn’t catch her, -she was so scared she just kept running.’
Both South Yorkshire Police and the RSPCA have been bombarded with calls about the bird.
A police spokesman recently said: ‘The last sightings suggested it was heading back towards where it was believed to live in Sprotbrough, but we are unable to confirm if it was reunited with its owner as it ran off from officers and we then could not locate it.
‘No one came forward from our post on social media to say they were the owners.’
A South Yorkshire Police spokesperson told MailOnline on Monday that they hadn’t received reports of a sighting for several days.
‘At 3.40pm on Thursday (6 August) police were alerted to an emu loose on York Road in Doncaster.
‘Attending officers sought to contain the bird safely in a nearby field, but the emu ran off at speed.’
Meanwhile, an RSPCA spokesman said: ‘We’ve advised that we will come out to try to catch it if it is in an enclosed area it can’t escape from, so it sounds like it’s still at large at the moment.’
It was later spotted in Newlands Park, Sprotbrough and on the Trans Pennine Trail near Cusworth – before heading east towards Dunscroft.
Ethel’s owner says she is ‘terrified’ and ‘not used to being out’. Police and the RSPCA are still looking for the evasive creature. ‘It ran off from officers and then we could not locate it,’ a South Yorkshire Police spokesperson said. (Another image of Ethel taken at the end of last week in Sprotbrough)
An RSPCA spokesman said: ‘We’ve advised that we will come out to try to catch it if it is in an enclosed area it can’t escape from, so it sounds like it’s still at large at the moment’