Flight risk! Ethel the 6ft emu has been on the run for five days since escaping enclosure… as fugitive bird continues to out-pace police and RSPCA by sprinting off at 30mph

  • The beloved pet has been spotted in Newlands Park, Sprotbrough and Cusworth
  • Authorities are yet to capture Ethel after she ‘ran off from officers,’ police say
  • Ethel’s owner says she is ‘timid’ and ‘so scared’: ‘She’s had stones thrown at her’

A ‘timid’ emu named Ethel was on the run again today after eluding RSPCA and police officers for more than five days.

The six-foot-tall bird – normally native to Australia – fled its home last Thursday after being spooked by passers-by taking its photograph.

The majestic bird has now been sighted on more than a dozen occasions in parks all across Doncaster, South Yorkshire, but has so far eluded capture.

Ethel the emu is the talk of south Yorkshire after being spotted by locals roaming around south Doncaster for five days now. Her owner Kerry Dobson says Ethel is a much loved family pet and is appealing for the public’s help to get her home

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. Emus can grow to be more than 6 feet tall

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 says

When approached, the bird – which can run at over 30mph – has simply fled and out-paced its would-be human captors.

There have also been reports of gangs of local youths pelting the terrified bird with stones.

Today the bird’s owner Kerry Dobson put out a desperate appeal to get her feathery pal back home after she suddenly escaped from their property in Doncaster.

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


Kerry, 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.’

Kerry 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.’

South Yorkshire Police have been contacted for an update. 

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. 

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