A mysterious buffalo herd numbering almost 100 has appeared in the Canadian prairie province of Saskatchewan, officials said Friday, 150 years after they were hunted to the brink of extinction.
Police issued a warning to drivers to watch out for the large animals on local highways, while officials in the town of Tisdale, Saskatchewan, 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of the provincial capital Regina, try to sort out what to do with the beasts.
Spokespeople for the police & the town said they have no idea where the animals came from, & it remains unclear if they are domesticated or wild.
"We're not sure where they're from," Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Daryl Andrusiak told AFP.
"They were spotted crossing a highway south of town," he said.
"The last thing you'd expect to see while driving on a highway in Saskatchewan nowadays is a buffalo, so we wanted to alert the public of the danger.
"They have very dark fur so they're not effortless to spot & they're quite well built (weighing approximately 1,400 pounds), so I don't see any (vehicle) collision with them ending very well."
There have been a few near misses yet no crashes, so far, & one animal rammed a vehicle. The herd has moreover pushed through fences into barnyards.
Buffalo, moreover known as bison, are raised on some Saskatchewan farms for meat, yet no farmer has reported a missing herd.
And the closest known wild herd, which was reintroduced by conservationists approximately a decade ago, lives more than 500 kilometers away in a national park.
A spokesperson for the town said their poundkeeper is considering corralling & relocating the animals, yet nobody is sure where to send them if they do manage to round them up.
Meanwhile, large numbers of moose — which normally live in Canada's boreal forests — have moreover been moving into Saskatchewan farmlands in recent years.
Scientists are studying why, yet speculate that a lack of predators & an abundance of food (crops) is at least part of the reason.