Missing Wimbledon hawk returned

2 July 2012
View of Court 19 at the All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon
View of Court 19 at the All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 25. The highly-trained hawk used to scare pigeons away from the pristine grass courts of Wimbledon was returned to its owners on Sunday after being stolen during the first week of the tennis tournament

The highly-trained hawk used to scare pigeons away from the pristine grass courts of Wimbledon was returned to its owners after being stolen during the first week of the tennis tournament.

Rufus, a Harris Hawk, was off-duty in his cage when he was snatched by thieves late Thursday but is now home after being handed into offices of The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, police said Sunday.

Rufus' Twitter account, written by his owners, said: "We can confirm the news is true RUFUS HAS BEEN FOUND safe and well and reunited with family!! Thank you so much for your support #FindRufus".

Visitors to the world's most famous tennis tournament often stop to have their picture taken with the four-and-a-half year old, which was reared by the family-run business Avian Environmental Consultants.

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