Sunday, August 13, 2006

Home On The Range

Have the tables turned?

August 2, 2006—Residents of Fort Providence in Canada's Northwest Territories are having a cow about their latest pest-control problem.

Several wild buffalo have invaded the small northern town (Canada map), rubbing siding off houses, head-butting trucks, and even scaring kids off the playground.

The nuisance bovines have been roaming Fort Providence since May, according to a report from the AFP news service. Officials believe the buffalo, which are part of a wild herd of about 2,400, were drawn to the town's manicured lawns and lack of predators.

"You're sure to run into one when you walk to the corner store for milk," the town's resource officer Darren Campbell told AFP.

"One of them kicked a vehicle. Try and get an insurance claim done after your car was kicked by a buffalo," Campbell said. "The adjustor will just laugh at you."

At least one buffalo in Canada discovered the ease of suburban living a few years back. This photo from April 2004 shows a trained buffalo named Bailey eating a meal with rancher Jim Sautner at his home in Spruce Grove near Edmonton, Alberta.

Meanwhile, most of Fort Providence's pesky critters have started moving back into the surrounding forests to search for mates. But two "trouble" buffalo were shot in mid-July for refusing to vacate. The town is now seeking buffalo-control officers to gently encourage the rest of the animals to leave.

—Victoria Gilman

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