Capybara watch Day 3: Furry fugitives 'aren't in a rush to come home'
Capybara's Twitter account mocks attempts at capturing them
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.
- Capybara goes on media tour after friends escape High Park Zoo
- How a couple of capybaras escaped High Park Zoo, leaving a lone male behind
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.
*yawn*. Morning, all. Everyone have a good night? We didn't fall for the 'corn at the zoo at dusk' trick <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/winning?src=hash">#winning</a> <a href="https://t.co/lkxWoaQ3Up">pic.twitter.com/lkxWoaQ3Up</a>—@HPcapybara
And while the capybaras continue to avoid all attempts at re-capture, they have certainly captured hearts here in Toronto and across the world.
You're a strange animal, I got to follow (you on Twitter). -Lyrics to a hit song by ScarbTO's Gowan. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/capybara?src=hash">#capybara</a> <a href="https://t.co/LO67rBtY7g">pic.twitter.com/LO67rBtY7g</a>—@ScarbTO
Yesss. <a href="https://twitter.com/MarielAshlinn">@MarielAshlinn</a> made these to honour the escaped High Park <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/capybara?src=hash">#capybara</a> <a href="https://t.co/VMRQmYIpzU">https://t.co/VMRQmYIpzU</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/capybarawatch?src=hash">#capybarawatch</a> <a href="https://t.co/Nbsn5KoIj6">pic.twitter.com/Nbsn5KoIj6</a>—@audrawilliams
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Capybara?src=hash">#Capybara</a> nope sorry I haven't seen them but if I do I'll call ya! <a href="https://t.co/dUXJPotVJe">pic.twitter.com/dUXJPotVJe</a>—@geraldmcfall
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.
Let it be known that <a href="https://twitter.com/jnorthcottCBC">@jnorthcottCBC</a> shall henceforth be known as the Capybara Whisperer. <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCMorningShow">@CBCMorningShow</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/cbchh">@cbchh</a> <a href="https://t.co/yxxwB9AdEB">pic.twitter.com/yxxwB9AdEB</a>—@JayScotland
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.
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.