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A smash hit: Chris (the) rhea returns after four-month tour

The owner of a rhea, which has been on the run for four months and spotted all over the area after escaping, says he is delighted to finally have him back.

The large flightless bird, called Chris, escaped from Flax Farm in Scole in November and became a bit of a social media star as people posted pictures of him during his adventures in Norfolk and Suffolk.

But he was finally caught at the weekend in Stuston – around a mile away from his home.

Chris (the) rhea is back home safely after his four-month tour
Chris (the) rhea is back home safely after his four-month tour

Owner Stephen Alleyne said: “During his time away, we had reports of him as far away as Bedingfield, maybe a little further.

“He seemed to get that far and then slowly make his way back, visiting some of the villages he went through on his way out.

“He seemed to like Mendlesham a lot as he went there twice, so it was very unusual.”

Mr Alleyne said the public had been great in keeping him up to date on the whereabouts of Chris.

“People have been really concerned about his welfare and have said that he looked like he was having the time of his life out there,” he added.

“I was in mixed minds. Obviously, I did want him back and am delighted he has returned, but I feel a bit guilty that I have stopped his fun.”

There had been numerous searches by Mr Alleyne and his family to find Chris, including an attempt to capture him at Christmas, before he was finally located at the weekend.

Mr Alleyne said: “We went driving around on the A140 after hearing he was around there, not far away from where he was caught.

“This lady came out wondering what we were up to. Not long later, she called us and said he was in her paddock with her horses.

“By the time we had got there, he had been wrestled into her stables and we finally got him back.”

The unusual journey Chris made, nearly coming fully home, could also have been for another reason.

“I wonder whether Chris was coming back to his girlfriend, DiRhea,” said Mr Alleyne.

“Before he left, he was really solitary and never really mixed with her, but now he is back they are always side by side.

“When we pulled up with him in the van, she came straight over and they have been inseparable – it could just be a coincidence, who knows?

“I am delighted he is back and people enjoyed his adventures. I thank everyone for keeping an eye out for him – they were brilliant.”

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