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Thu Apr 17 20:42:27 SAST 2014

Wimbledon still no pigeon paradise after anti-pest hawk stolen

Sapa-dpa | 01 July, 2012 12:000 Comments
FILE - Rufus, The Wimbledon Hawk, Stolen From Car
Rufus the resident Harris Hawk keeps the courts pigeon free on day seven of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 29, 2009 in London, England. Rufus, who patrols Wimbledon to keep it pigeon free, has been stolen from a parked car
Image by: Ian Walton / Getty Images

Wimbledon officials have put out an all-point bulletin for the recovery of Rufus the hawk, stolen overnight on Thursday in his cage after being left in a parked car with a window open for ventilation.

The bird of prey had become a fixture at the Championships, and gained a certain notoriety with his own Twitter account and Facebook page. The four-year-old’s avian menacing presence has been enough to keep local terrorised pigeons from nesting in the eaves of the covered roof over Centre court.

Rufus was said to be a family pet called into annual duty at the All England club.

The pigeon problem remains under control through, with another hawk Hector flying in for fill-in duty.

The idea of keeping a personal anti-pigeon prowler on hand was so clever that French Open officials installed a hawk of their own for Roland Garros last month.

The BBC reported that Rufus was taken from the car of his handler parked in a private drive. Expensive radio equipment used to track his flights was left behind.

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Wimbledon still no pigeon paradise after anti-pest hawk stolen

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