Roadrunner: Ostrich's dash for freedom on Japan highway

TOKYO - A plucky ostrich was living life in the fast lane in Japan earlier this week after making a bold dash for freedom along a stretch of motorway, local media reported.

The 1.80-metre (6-feet) 'Roadrunner' brought traffic to a halt at Takasaki, north of Tokyo, after breaking out of its cage atop a speeding truck, according to Japan's public broadcaster NHK.

It took nine police and highway patrol officers over an hour to capture the intrepid creature, which was being transported to a zoo in northerly Ibaraki prefecture, following a frantic one-kilometre (half-mile) chase.

Police said no injuries were reported during the incident on Monday in which the bird - one of 15 being moved by a specialist breeder - executed its daring breakout.

Highway patrol officer Takahashi Fujimoto told NHK: "Two police officers had captured the ostrich by the time I arrived. They tied rope to its neck and body and moved it to a safe location.

"The ostrich was really calm," added Fujimoto. "I couldn't believe that an ostrich was on the highway so I was shocked when I actually saw it." Several passing drivers uploaded photos and video clips to social media showing the ostrich brazenly strolling along the hard shoulder.

It is not the first time unruly ostriches have run riot on a Japanese motorway, although in 2007 it ended less happily when one of two birds which escaped its cage was killed after being hit by a car.

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