Toronto

Capybara watch Day 3: Furry fugitives 'aren't in a rush to come home'

As the search for Toronto's escaped High Park capybaras enters Day 3, local city Coun. Sarah Doucette remains positive the pair of dog-sized rodents will be found safe.

Capybara's Twitter account mocks attempts at capturing them

This is Chewie a male capybara who remains alone in captivity after a pair of capybaras escaped while being transferred to the High Park Zoo. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

As the search for Toronto's missing High Park capybaras enters day 3, local city Coun. Sarah Doucette remains positive the pair of dog-sized rodents will be found safe. 

In an appearance on CBC's Metro Morning show Thursday, Doucette said she's confident the pair who escaped Tuesday are still in the park. 

"We believe they are going to stay close by," she said. 

The elusive escapees, a male and a female, made their break while being transferred to the park's petting zoo on Tuesday. 

Since then staff have combed the park in an effort to recapture the deceptive duo. Doucette said the missing capybaras have little motivation to return to captivity: this week has been warm (they're native to South America) and there's plenty of water, food and hiding places in the park. 

"Capybaras do love water," said Doucette. "They'll probably be hiding in the river areas. Right now they have acres and acres to hide. They probably aren't in a rush to come home."

It turns out they also love chomping on corn cobs. Last night, parks staff left some corn cobs near the zoo enclosure in an attempt to lure the capybaras back into captivity.

One of the Twitter accounts created for (or by?) the critters wasn't impressed by the tactic.

And while the capybaras continue to avoid all attempts at re-capture, they have certainly captured hearts here in Toronto and across the world.

This Blue Jays-inspired Capybara logo was making the rounds on social media Thursday. Two capybaras who escaped the High Park petting zoo on Thursday remain at large. (Christopher Lewis)

So as the search continues, here are some factors shaping the story.

Willow needs to clear her schedule

While the search for the escapees continued yesterday another capybara, this one a female named Willow, had her own day in the sun. Willow's main gig is entertaining children at birthday parties and other events, but yesterday she was brought in to help with the search.

The thinking is she might manage to draw the escapees back into the zoo enclosure. Capybaras, you see, are social animals who call to each other.

City officials are hoping Willow's newfound notoriety won't prevent her from re-joining the search Thursday for the missing pair. 

"Willow is trying to clear her schedule to come back today," said Doucette.

Before heading to the park, Willow went on a mini-media tour yesterday, which you can read about here

Spare a thought for Chewy

Poor Chewy. He's the male capybara who remains all alone in his pen at the High Park zoo. 

But everyone is hoping he could also play a role in their recapture. Capybaras are social creatures who call to each other. If Willow can't bring them back, they're hoping Chewy can. 

This is what a lonesome capyabara looks like. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

Oh, and there's a video game now

Can't find time to get out to the west end and join the search in person? No problem. An enterprising techie has created this video game in which you can try and chase down the furry fugitives. 

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