Swedish hunters shoot and kill runaway ostrich

Swedish hunters shoot and kill runaway ostrich
The escaped ostrich in question. Photo: Helena Wall
Between the wolves, bears and even the hungry elk, Sweden has its fair share of wild animals to look out for. Yet it was an ostrich rather than a native Scandinavian beast that struck fear into the hearts of one town this week.

A female ostrich which escaped from a farm near Fellingsbro in Örebro county in central Sweden earlier this week was shot by two hunters late on Thursday, Swedish radio reported on Friday.

Police had warned locals not to approach the animal, with one officer detailing a harrowing previous encounter with one such long-legged bird.

“I was hunted. I don’t want to meet one again, never in my life (…) one of the ostriches had a look in its eye that I will never forget,” police spokesperson Stefan Wickberg chillingly recounted to tabloid Aftonbladet.

“Their bills are really strong too, so I’d opt to stay away,” he added.

The animal apparently belonged to a private individual who had purchased it together with four more.

“It is important not to get too close. If the animal feels trapped and threatened it can attack. There have been reports of people who have been killed by ostriches in different parts of the world,” Fredrik Engström, a local animal welfare inspector, warned broadcaster SVT before the ostrich met its demise.

The runaway ostrich. Photo: Helena Wall

According to resident Helena Wall however, who managed to take two pictures of the bird, it had not appeared to be scared.

“It was calm and walked around eating around 50 metres from its owner, who was lying down sleeping,” she told The Local earlier on Thursday.

The local council had told the owner that if they did not manage to catch the bird it could end up being shot by hunters, though it had said that would be the worst-case scenario.