AN exotic flightless bird was discovered in Princetown last week with several puncture wounds — and a rescue centre is busy trying to find its rightful owner.

The juvenile Rhea — a bird similar to an emu — was found by a family from Southampton who took the injured animal to HART Wildlife Rescue, based in Hampshire, on Monday (June 1).

Staff at the centre received the unusual patient and quickly began with its treatment for the wounds.

Paul Reynolds, manager at HART, said that the baby bird was only a few weeks old.

‘It still would have been with its parents or someone was hand rearing it at home.

‘It’s an exotic bird and in some areas they are bred for meat and sometimes kept as pets but most of the time they are from zoos.

‘We contacted Dartmoor Zoo and this is not theirs.

‘Most have come from someone’s house or, because this animal has a few wounds, it’s possible it was picked up by a bird of prey and dropped. There is also a possibility that it was an abandoned pet and they thought it was a good idea to let it go on the National Park but it would have died.

‘The people who found the Rhea had it for a few days and the wounds had started to heal as this group of ratite birds are good at self heeling. The family thought they could have raised it but they dropped to us.’

The bird’s future is hopeful — the HART team has it on antibiotics for its wounds and has a few offers from zoos if its rightful owner is not found.

‘Hopefully we will have a happy ending,’ added Paul.

If anyone can help, email [email protected] and speak to Paul or someone at the team.