The rhea was recaptured by staff from the charity on Wednesday after being cornered and tranquillised with a dart gun in a country lane in Suffolk.
But the creature died around four hours later when it suffered a suspected panic attack while recovering from the anaesthetic.The flightless rhea, which weighed around 90lbs, is thought to have escaped several months ago from its enclosure on an estate near Woodbridge, Suffolk.
It managed to survive the freezing winter and was repeatedly spotted by locals in fields and on lanes around Campsea Ashe, Marlesford, Tunstall and Eyke.
The RSPCA decided to capture it over fears that it could run on to a road and cause an accident, even though it seemed to be thriving in the wilds of Suffolk
Kate Cornforth, an animal collection officer for the charity, made several visits to monitor it - but was unable to capture it on her own.
She returned on Wednesday with RSPCA chief inspector Mark Thompson who was armed with his tranquilliser rifle.
Helped by two villages, the pair tracked the white-feathered rhea down to a wheat field in Eyke - but it kept running away when they got near.
The bird, a native of South America, finally went through a hedge into a nearby lane where they managed to corner so it could not get away.Mr Thompson fired his first shot into the body of the bird which could run at 40mph, but the needle was unable to penetrate its thick feathers.
His second shot was a success as it hit the top of the bird's thigh, injecting tranquilliser straight into its bloodstream, so it was dazed within seconds.
The semi-conscious bird was loaded into a trailer after the two-hour rescue operation, and taken to be re-homed with a bird lover who has other pet rheas in Eye, Suffolk.
RSPCA spokeswoman Nicola Walker said: 'It was put in a field to recover and appeared to be breathing normally.
'It lay down for a while, but the new owner said it suffered some sort of panic attack and died.
'We do not know what the cause of death was and we will not be holding a post mortem.
When I lived in the U.K., I found the RSPCA to be just a scam for collecting money to run an organisation which really shows very little interest in the day to day activities of supporting animals.
As long as they are funding themselves to be in jobs, that's all they care about.
It's a legalised scam !!!! In any other walk of life they would be prosecuted for taking money under false pretences.
- Brian, Florida, 01/7/2010 19:18
- mel drew, uk, 01/7/2010 18:58
I am proud to say I have never donated to RSPCA & many other corupt charities. They only carry out political will, which seems to be to euthanise prefectly healthy animals or animals considered 'pests'. Sadly they are not there to protect & serve most animals, they are merely there to ensure a few elite species are pampered perfect specimens. They seem to have a license to gass the many other less desirable species for convenience. They even seem to feel they have a duty to go out of their way to capture & kill as many harmless creatures as they can.
- Jessica, Surrey UK, 1/7/2010 18:47
Someone bizarrely abandoned a dog in my street, right outside my house, with bowls, food and lead. I took it in and spent FOUR HOURS on hold to the rspca whose message repeatedly told me 'my call mattered' (I know - it sounds crazy in hindsight, but I didn't know what to do with a random dog!) They never even picked up the phone to take my call. I rehomed the dog myself and vowed never to be suckered by all the big-eyes puppy adverts. The rspca doesn't care for dogs, big-eyed or not. It just cares about manipulating the public and taking its money.
- Anna Morell, Rochester, Kent, 01/7/2010
I no longer donate to the RSPCA. They have become a very politically motivated organisation, paying big salaries to executives and only caring when there is pulblicity involved.The days when they actually cared about animals, especially domestic pets, are long gone. Far better, in my opinion, to support local animal charities, where you know money is spent directly on animals, and there are no huge salaries and offices to upkeep. The same can be said for most big charities.
- reece, cambs, 1/7/2010 18:27
I agree with many of the people here that the RSPCA only ever get involved for publicity or if it's an interesting creature. They are an absolute joke.
I have contacted them before about an injured pipstrelle bat we found and then noticed by our cats as we tried to get it to climb a tree to fly away. Of course it couldn't fly away and the cats wanted it. Their response was to let the cats have it and to stop wasting their time.
I know someone who takes in injured animals temporarily for recovery and rehoming and she needed them to take a cat which was so starving it couldn't walk anymore. She was told that 'they don't do' animals like cats, that it was just a stray and not worth their time. She had to take in the cat and pay for it's care herself. Thankfully it's ok now and a wonderful little cat.
Volunteering at a local wildlife rescue centre, I have also overheard many other people speaking of similar experiences. It's disgusting.
- KTedham, Carlisle, 1/7/2010 18:02
Ah, this would be the same RSPCA who refused to help me when I found two tiny tiny kittens abandoned, one with a hernia, as big as its head! Oh yes, I remember... no room to collect them, no one to assist me - no, no, no, if it makes it through the night then take it to the vets tomorrow but you will have to pay!! I ended up feeding them up until the ill one was strong enough to withstand the operation, then paying out £300 for the operation. Oh well. At least I know they are loved and well cared for.
- Helen, Devon, 1/7/2010 18:00
I hope that the RSPCA will be prosecuted for causing unnecessary suffering.
- Howardinmk, Milton Keynes UK, 1/7/2010 Actually the RSPCA kill all non-native species.
I watched one of their officers throw an injured grey squirrel with a broken leg into a cage by its tail, after I had gone to them for help. I've never forgotten that.
- Jane, UK, 1/7/2010 17:16
Another RSPCA rescue attempt gone wrong ..
I called these numb skulls out to some cats near my work place who were terribly underweight and emaciated ..
The officer reported back to me the cats were underweight and emaciated looking because they were old ..
within 3 weeks 2 had to be put down, because they had feline aids .. Of course these numb skulls know about animals. .
- clippy zippy, Norfolk, 1/7/2010 17:07
RSPCA are only interested in situations that could give them some publicity. Anything else and they couldn't care less. Utterly hopeless.
- Andy, London, 1/7/2010 16:54
The RSPCA is a PC organisation that tries to grab headlines in order to bolster contributions.If you watch them on TV,they are a brainless,jobsworth lot,(its the uniform) and couldn't pass 11 + between them.
- peter simmonds, chichester
I stopped giving to the RSPCA after I found out that this charity is only interested in lining it's own pockets.
Last year (2009) RSPCA chief executive, Mark Watts, received £105,500 in pay and perks.
IT'S JUST ANOTHER GRAVY TRAIN
- Andrew, Aylesbury, 1/7/2010 16:36
I reported a dog left to fend for itself to the RSPCA but they said they couldn´t do anything because the owners were police officers. They´re a waste of time.
- Francesca, Not claiming benefits and paying for private health care in Marbella, 1/7/2010 16:23
In my experience, the RSPCA are a complete waste of time. They do not attend when requested, they are not completely trained in the care and management of the the animals they are supposed to be attending to, and must have a book of excuses as large as the telephone directory.
As a livery yard owner, rider and competitor and farmer of some 50 odd years, I know what I'm talking about. Give us the Blue Cross any day of the week.
- Elizabeth, Worcestershire, 1/7/2010 16:19The RSPCA normally love publicity, but I bet this time they wish they hadn't got any!
The RSPCA are hopeless!
- Lesley, Wimbledon, 1/7/2010 14:58
Exactly what 'cruelty' were these numpties preventing by hounding this unfortunate creature? Don't forget that the RSPCA gave a massive cash donation to the Labour Party because they were the most likely to ban foxhunting. Now foxes are roaming cities freely and looking to eat children, are they showing any remorse? This is a charity that has fallen into the wrong hands.
- Clive Blake, Victor Harbor South Australia, 1/7/2010 14:57
RSPCA was a good charity when the vets. ran it, not since the animal rights nutters took over!
- chas warner, taunton somerset, 1/7/2010 13:25
More muppets - panic attack indeed - they darted it twice. It died of an over-dose - what is the correct dose for a rhea?
They just cannot leave tthings be.
You know animals have got on fine for millions of years before the RSPCA came along
- Dave, Chorleywood, 1/7/2010 13:23
How very convenient for the RSPCA if it happened to have some undiscovered "illness" that "caused" its death.
- JB, South, 1/7/2010 13:22
Better round up all the wallabies that are roaming free around various parts of the UK countryside, along with Badger, Foxes, Deer etc who all go across roads too, because this is also a danger on roads and damage to cars etc.
Whilst I appreciate the good work of the RSPCA they are also such hypocrits too. I have reported animals in distress in the past and they have never wanted to know. They seem very good at picking and choosing certain cases to suit them.
- Louise, Plymouth, 1/7/2010 13:19
How typical of the RSPCA. I would never support a this charity, they will never get a penny from me. They spend more lining their own pockets and pursuing court cases than on animals. Did you know that unless you leave money to your local branch it doesn't go to help any animals at all but straight to head office, none of the branches of the charity will see a penny of it.
- Sun Dai, Home, 1/7/2010 13:15