Officials say a crew of specialists on Wednesday were able to humanely capture the escaped bison from a forest preserve in Wauconda. It had been on the loose for months.
“Tyson the Bison,” also called “Billy the Bison,” had 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 Lakes residents, who have taken videos and photos and posted them on social media.
Officials say they believe she settled at Lakewood Forest Preserve in unincorporated Wauconda in early April.
Lake County Forest Preserve officials said they worked for the past several days with a professional livestock specialist from Illinois to capture the bison.
Matt Noble, the owner of Loose Cattle Caught, was brought in on Friday to assist in humanely capturing the bison.
He utilized a crew of specialists, a drone, a horse and a dog in an attempt to locate the bison.
She was located early Wednesday morning and Noble “lightly” tranquilized the animal, the Lake County Forest Preserves said.
The tranquilizer did not put her in danger or make her fall to the ground, officials said. Its purpose was to slow her down.
The bison slowly made its way to the barn for food and Noble was able to close the door behind her.
“We are thankful the animal has been removed from the forest preserve safely before Memorial Day weekend when attendance at preserves increases,” Lake County Forest Preserves Chief Operations Officer Mike Tully said.
“The safety of our users and the animal has been our No. 1 priority throughout this process. Bison are considered domestic livestock in Illinois, therefore roaming free in a public forest preserve is not an appropriate place for it to call home,” he said.
Noble backed his trailer into the barn and was able to relocate the bison to his compound where the animal is healthy and under observation, Tully said.
Noble is in the process of contacting the owner of the bison.
Last week, forest preserve officials said they wanted the bison captured by Memorial Day because of the increase in attendance at the preserves.