Forest preserve officials say they are working to have a 1,300-pound bison, which escaped from a farm in September, humanely captured in Wauconda by the end of this month.
“Tyson the Bison,” also called “Billy the Bison,” has been on the loose in the western Lake County and eastern McHenry County area.
The female bison was being corralled into an enclosure from a trailer when she managed to escape from a farm in Wauconda in mid-September.
The animal has been spotted dozens of times by Wauconda and Island Lake residents, who have taken videos and photos and posted them on social media.
It was most recently spotted in the Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda.
“The goal is to have the farm animal removed by Memorial Day weekend when preserve attendance traditionally increases,” said John Tannahill, director of public safety at the Lake County Forest Preserves.
“The safety of our users and the animal is our No. 1 priority. Bison is considered domestic livestock, therefore a forest preserve is not an appropriate home,” Tannahill said.
The animal’s owner has been working with forest preserve ranger police to lure the bison with food into a barn so it can be enclosed and taken to its home.
Tannahill said fines could be issued to the owner if the bison is not removed. The animal has not approached any humans.
“However, with the busy summer season approaching, we have to get the bison off the property for everyone’s safety,” Tannahill said.
The forest preserve said they recommend that persons and animals do not try to approach, capture, chase or attempt to pet the animal.
Anyone who spots the animal should immediately contact the Lake County Forest Preserve Ranger Police by calling 847-549-5200.