London: The stolen Wimbledon hawk `Rufus` was returned to its owner and will be back to patrol the skies over the courts soon, its owner said.
Rufus, the Harrier hawk, was handed over to an animal hospital on Sunday evening, the owner Imogen Davis said, adding that the four-year-old majestic bird had a slightly sore leg and would rest for few days rest before resuming work, in time for key matches of the tournament.
The bird was stolen with its cage on Thursday night from a car parked on a private driveway in the southeastern suburb of Wimbledon.
Police confirmed that the hawk had been returned, but gave no details on who may have stolen it.
Hawks have been used for more than 12 years to clear the skies of pigeons during the Wimbledon tournament.
Rufus is a fixture at the south-west London club, with visitors often stopping to ask for photos with the hawk, which even has his own Twitter account, written by his owners.