Lost beefalo found, captured

Posted June 15, 2010, at 2:58 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:09 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — For Chloe, the roving young beefalo who escaped from her trailer in April, her wandering days are over.

The animal walked into a metal pen on the North Street property of Michael Carter and Lisa Taylor-Carter last week, more than a mile from Route 1A where the door of the trailer in which she had been riding popped open and dropped her on the asphalt.

The animal had been on the loose since April 26 and had been sighted in the area several times. Taylor-Carter said the first time she saw Chloe, about three weeks ago, the beefalo was in a field by the power lines near her home.

“I called to her, and she started to come, but then a big truck went by and it scared her, and she ran off,” she said. “From the first time I saw her, I started calling her Maggie May. When we caught her, we saw she had a tag in her ear that said her name was Chloe. But I still call her Maggie May.”

Chloe had a regular route near the Carter property and generally seemed to stay near the power lines between their home and the Union River. The Carters grew nervous one day when they spotted Chloe on one side of the river and a small black bear on the other.

“Through the binoculars, you could see them,” she said. “The bear was staring at her, and she was staring at the bear.”

But the bear stayed on its side of the river. Taylor-Carter said she was more worried about coyotes in the area and the traffic on North Street.

She had heard about the beefalo, but Taylor-Carter thought it was a joke. Someone suggested she call the zoo in Trenton, which she did. Officials there suggested she call officials at the Maine Warden Service, who put her in touch with the animal’s owner, Christopher Maller of Bar Harbor.

“He’s been very worried about her,” she said.

Maller brought cracked corn, which they set out with water near Chloe’s regular path. Initially, Chloe ignored it. Within a few days, she started eating. Maller set up the metal pen and, over a period of a few more days, she began to get used to walking in and out of it.

She remained skittish, however, so Michael Carter and his sons, Matt, 15, and Nick, 17, rigged a rope to the gate that ran up to the house where Chloe could not see them. When she wandered in on June 10, they pulled the gate closed behind her.

The two boys sprinted down to put the pins in the gate, and the case of beef on the hoof was ended.

Chloe, however, didn’t like the pen.

“She tried to get out,” Taylor-Carter said. “We were afraid she was going to hurt herself. We almost let her go again.”

Although she has lost a lot of weight during her weeks of wandering the countryside, Taylor-Carter said, she seems to be in pretty good shape.

The beefalo has grown used to her surroundings, but she remains wary of humans, lowering her head, snorting and pawing the ground if they come too close. The exception has been young Matt, whom Chloe approached even that first day in the pen.

“She came right up to him and let him pet her,” Taylor-Carter said.

The trick now is to get Chloe back into a trailer, so Maller can take her to Bar Harbor.

Attempts to speak with Maller about his plans have been unsuccessful, but Taylor-Carter said that they’ve set up a trailer at one end of the pen and they’ve put water and food in it. Chloe has put only her head inside to eat and drink. On one occasion, when there were too many people about, she ran inside the trailer, but not long enough for someone to close the door, Taylor-Carter said.

They’re hoping she’ll do that again so she soon can rejoin the male beefalo that did not escape when the trailer door popped open as both were being taken to Bar Harbor in late April.

While rescuing Chloe was the whole point, Taylor-Carter said the parting would be bittersweet.

“I’ve gotten really attached to her,” she said. “She’s been a treat to have here. I’ll be sad to see her go.”