A cow that had been hiking the trail system at Blomidon Provincial Park in Nova Scotia alone for weeks has been caught and returned to its owner after several unsuccessful attempts to corral it.
Jordan Post, a park technician, said at the end of September he started to get calls from people about a black bear in the park.
"My predecessor has spent a lot of years at that park and has never had any problems with bears, so we thought it was odd," he told CBC’s Mainstreet.
After a quick investigation, Post confirmed the bear people thought they saw at the park was, in fact, a black jersey cow. It had escaped its farm and was loose in the park.
Blomidon is made up of 759 hectares of parkland with 14 kilometres of interconnected trails. While still open to hikers, the Minas Basin park's camping season closed Labour Day weekend.
"Once the park was shut down for the season, there was only myself and a few staff up there," said Post.
He said he would only see the cow once or twice a week.
'All of a sudden you would turn around and there would be this black cow standing there. It was almost like the wind.' - Jordan Post
He said the cow posed no risk to human visitors and the cow faced no immediate risks.
"You would be up there working and all of a sudden you would turn around and there would be this black cow standing there. It was almost like the wind. You wouldn't hear it move. But as soon as the cow noticed you notice it, it was very skittish and would take off in the woods," said Post.
"Because the food was so abundant, it really didn't have any problem at all. We have a nice beautiful brook — the Borden Brook — that goes through there, so it had a water source. Personally I think it was enjoying the free range."
Toyota Corolla called in to corral cow
But with winter coming, park officials wanted to get the cow back it its owner.
Post said he made a number of attempts to corral the cow, to no avail.
"The cow had a short piece of rope already around its neck," Post said. "At first we thought we should be able to walk up to it, grab this rope and we'll tie it up until the owner can come up with his truck and remove it, but that was not the case because it was very skittish and didn't like people coming near it."
After that attempt failed, park workers tried to lasso the cow. That didn't work either.
So Post approached the cow's owner, who had a portable fencing unit. He set up the fencing unit on a closed camp site, using some fresh hay and apples as bait.
At first, it didn't work.
"We'd see it in the corral, I'd try to sneak over to it, but the first second that a stick broke or something, the cow would see me and run out of the corral," he said.
"Then yesterday morning, I had the idea that I don't have a horse but I do have a little Toyota Corolla that can move pretty quickly. So I figured if the cow is in this corral, if I can get in front of the door quick enough that the cow can't escape that, I'll be good to go."
The plan worked.
Post said the jersey cow is now back home on its farm, safe and sound.