Three yaks seen at Bear Hole in West Springfield return home

Hampden County

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Three yaks that wandered from Westfield to West Springfield have been safely returned home.

The trio managed to travel around 2 miles from their farm in Westfield to Bear Hole Reservoir in West Springfield. Their owner was away on Cape Cod when he found out his yaks were on the lamb.

“My thoughts were, I just hope they don’t get on a highway or cause any damage,” Mike Tierney said. “I was kind of at a loss for how we could find them and get them.”

Tierney runs an alpaca farm in Westfield, he estimates the yaks were loose for two days at most when hikers discovered the animals in Bear Hole on Wednesday. Others were warned not to get close, as the yaks had charged at them.

One hiker found out about the yaks on the loose on Facebook — while she was in Bear Hole.

“Concerned with bears mostly and bobcats, but to see those massive yaks online was a little scary, to say the least,” Brenda Chavez told 22News.

With the help of animal control, West Springfield Police, and Tierney’s pals in the alpaca community, a yak rescue mission was launched.

Armed with a trailer and some treats, Tierney said, “We put grain in a bucket, and we shook the bucket, and I do that every day when I grain them.”

He explained, “The purpose of that is not only to give them the grain, but for them to get to know me and my voice, and to train them what to do if they did get lost, and it worked. Followed the grain, and everybody pitched in. It was like a team effort.”

Tierney has already taken steps to make sure this rescue mission is their last.

“Oh I’ve gotta reinforce it,” he told 22News. “They’re going back home to a secure pen.”

Now it’s back to just being bears the hikers have to worry about.

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