A yak named Meteor escaped its owner on the way to the butcher this week and is on the loose somewhere in central Virginia.
Meteor’s owner told Nelson County animal control that the yak had kicked off the back door of a livestock trailer about 10 a.m. Tuesday at a stop sign in Lovingston, Va., about 40 miles southwest of Charlottesville.
Nelson County Animal Control Officer Kevin Wright said Friday that the search for Meteor continues. The animal initially retreated to the mountains but has since been seen on both sides of Route 29 near Lovingston.
“He’s kind of hanging close within a two- to three-mile circumference,” Wright said. “When he gets on 29, it’s a public safety factor.”
The News & Advance in Lynchburg was the first on Meteor’s trail.
Robert Cissell, Meteor’s owner, said the yak is three years old and weighs about 600 pounds. He was raised on Cissell’s farm in Buckingham, Va., and Cissell said he hopes to lure him back by placing a trap of sweet feed and apples in a trailer.
Cissell said yaks are able to survive for long periods without human supervision, pointing out that two survived for months in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Meteor is worth more than $1,000 at market, he said.
“This is how we make our living,” he said. “Unfortunately, for me, it’s not the cute animal story everyone thinks,” he said.
Laura Cooper, a member service specialist with the Nelson County Farm Bureau, caught Meteor on camera when staff noticed the animal in the back of its office building.
“He’s just chilling,” she said. “He just doesn’t want to go where he was going.”
Deb Verplank, co-owner of the Orchard House Bed and Breakfast, where Cissell set his trap, said Meteor showed up on Wednesday like any other visitor.
“He came up right up our driveaway, like he was home” she said. “It’s not every day you see that kind of guest arriving for check-in.”