File photo of Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro. | Moises Lopez/Twitter
File photo of Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro. | Moises Lopez/Twitter
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New Delhi: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was bitten by a rhea, a large bird that looks like an ostrich and emu, when he tried to feed it during a stroll around the presidential palace grounds in Brasilia Monday. The President tested positive for Covid-19 last week and has been under quarantine since.

Bolsonaro has been undergoing self-isolation at the presidential palace since testing positive for the virus. Previously, he had, for months, downplayed the threat of Covid-19 in Brazil, calling it “just a little flu”, and had openly flouted social distancing norms by giving handshakes and interacting with crowds of people.

The 65-year-old was seen wearing a mask during his walk through the palace grounds after being infected with the virus. He had earlier diluted a law requiring face masks to be worn in Brazil. The country is the second worst-hit by the pandemic, with, at last count, more than 19.31 lakh novel coronavirus cases.

Twitter users were quick to poke fun at Bolsonaro after his encounter with the rhea.

Washington-based political strategist Alexandra Chalupa compared this to when US President Donald Trump was attacked by an eagle during a photo shoot in 2015. “The birds know what’s up,” she posted.

Indian user Rudrani D joked that this was a “Massive win for Rheas all over the world”.

Many mistook the rhea for a similar looking bird, the emu, which also happens to be a distant relative of the rhea. Twitter handle @charlottr said, “Well done comrade emu”. The main difference between the two birds is that the emu is native to Australia and taller, whereas the Greater Rhea is native to South America and relatively shorter.

Seattle-based James Austin said, “Fresh off a decisive victory against Australia, the emus have targeted Brazil with a failed decapitation strike. Truely we can know no peace until we have destroyed them all.”


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