Planes to help search for missing buffalo

Steve Mitchell, or Buffalo Farm, is hopeful that the buffalo will be found soon. Picture: Neil Hanna
Steve Mitchell, or Buffalo Farm, is hopeful that the buffalo will be found soon. Picture: Neil Hanna

A number of small aircraft have been drafted in a bid to find the missing buffalo which has been on the run for almost a fortnight.

It has also been revealed that the animal – named Bert by the public – will now be spared the chopping block, having received a pardon from farm bosses.

Steve Mitchell, of Buffalo Farm, says the UK Civil Air Patrol Scotland (UKCAPS) got in touch offering to help this afternoon.

“It’s taken a big development thanks to the general public, who have taken an approach I hadn’t even thought about,” he said.

“The aviation people have kindly offered to use us as a training exercise for missing persons. So some small planes are going to be joining the search.

“They said they’d had several enquiries from the public suggesting they could chip in. They asked if they could help, and we said ‘yes’

“We’ve just mapped the area with them and they’re going to do a search from the air.

“We’ve still got the buffalo out. the frost was out problem at the start because we couldn’t follow any footprints. and now it’s been quite windy at night so it seems to have moved back to Raith Estate direction as opposed to Cardenden Woods as there’s been footprints and dung sightings.

“But we’re a little bit restricted by what we can do because we don’t want to disrupt the pheasant shooting at Raith Estate so we have to be quite sensatyive. It’s people’s livliehoods so we can’t just go traipsing through.

“But equally it’s also very important that we get this animal back safely.

“He’s certainly captured the imagination of the general public. the amount of enquiries we’ve had has just been staggering. It’s caught the imagination of a lot of children. A lot of mums are getting harassed into finding out ‘how’s the buffalo?’, which is very sweet and lovely.

“So I’ve been pressured into promising that if we do recover him he’ll be safe now from becoming burgers, and he’ll perhaps become more of an attraction here at Bogily to promote our farm shop.

“I’ve got a huge amount of admiration for him at the same time because his ability to hide and be elusive is quite incredible. It just shows how amazing buffalo are. I’m quite aware he’s making me look pretty silly at the moment, but I can genuinely say it’s largely down to just how clever buffalo are.

“The public seem to have named him Bert. I’ve no idea where it came from but it seems to have stuck with everyone that asks after him.”

“We’ve got close to 2000 turkeys ordered and the team is really busy, we’re also expanding and we’ve got builders here working frantically to get things done and help us with the Christmas rush, I’ve getting married in less than ten days’ time, so I’ve got plenty on my plate.”

UKCAPS are staffed by volunteers who assist in aerial searches.

Archie Liggat, chairman of UKCAPS, said: “It’s good exercise for us, we’re here obviously to look for people. We’ll look for anything from the air if it helps the community – that’s what we’re there for.

“We might be able to spot it from the air. If it’s in trees, that makes it a little more difficult and of course it looks like a big black cow so may not stand out tremendously well. On the other hand the noise of the planes might make it break cover.

“It’ll possibly be two aircraft. Each aircraft will have a pilot and an observer, and we’ll take advice from the owner on the most likely spots for the beast to be.

Attempts to recapture a buffalo near Kirkcaldy continue, almost two weeks after he escaped.

The young animal has continued to confound its would-be captors after escaping 11 days ago while being weighed at Torbain Farm.

So far the buffalo has evaded capture, despite being sighted and lured into a field last Monday night with plans to recapture it at first light.

On that occasion the animal had escaped once more by morning.

Since then, expert beaters have been drafted in to the search and members of the public were invited to help flush the buffalo out of the woods near Cardenden.

However, these attempts were once again unsuccessful.

Other attempts to lure in the young bull are being made using a “helpful cow” and a calf as bait in the hope that the runaway animal will be enticed into a field.

Even heat-sensing equipment has been used to help spot the bull in dense woodlands near Torbain Road.

The young bull is prone to running off when approached by humans, and is likely to be more comfortable around other buffalo.

Now ‘cow 242’ has been put into a new area with her calf, in the hope that their calls will being the bull back to the herd.

Steve has urged local residents to keep their eyes peeled in the area in case they see the buffalo.

And he has offered a reward of a Christmas turkey to anyone who finds the buffalo.

Anyone who can help trace the bull is asked to call the Buffalo Farm on 01592 646252.