This story is no bull.
A male water buffalo escaped from a Langley farm and went on a field trip Friday morning.
The ungulate checked out a neighbouring field, before roaming the parking lots of a nearby church, and the Langley Christian elementary, middle and high schools.
The escapade was ‘chaperoned’ by the animal’s owner, Brad Bennik, who was able to laugh about the unauthorized adventure, calling himself, ‘Buffalo Brad.’
The action began just after 9 a.m. when the recently de-horned water buffalo decided it was not going to join the other 35 animals in the herd, and instead left through the front gate.
“He’s only been here a couple of months,” Bennik said, explaining the water buffalo was recently purchased from Vancouver Island.
“He wasn’t accustomed to being in the yard. (I guess) he wanted to see his surroundings.”
Langley Christian Elementary School principal Susan Dick said they noticed the bull on their property around 10 a.m.
“It went to the swings, and the very edge of our property,” Dick said. “It made its way off our property and started charging west down 48 Avenue and ended up on our middle/high school property.”
LAPS (Langley Animal Protection Society) was called to corral the animal and return it to its farm. They responded right away, Dick explained.
“They were ultimately successful in getting it back,” Dick said.
LAPS animal control officer Chloe Buskell used her vehicle to help assist the owner in getting the bull home, noted LAPS executive director Jayne Nelson.
“She blocked driveways to stop the bull from deviating from its path home,” Nelson said.
Altogether, the adventure lasted about two and a half hours.
As the bull wandered around school property, the elementary campus was put on hold and secure, meaning the students were kept in their classrooms. Parents of pre-schoolers had to wait until all was clear, before picking up their children.
“It was huge, absolutely huge,” Dick said, estimating that the animal weighed 2,000 pounds. “The farmer came across (to the school) to apologize. He said it was gentle but definitely agitated.”
The students watched the action from safety of their classrooms.
“They were definitely excited and had to be reminded that this is a very big animal,” Dick said. “It was a bull but I never called it a bull, I just called it a water buffalo. We told the students that the animal was agitated and yelling at it or banging on the windows was not going to help.”
Luckily, none of the students or the staff were injured and the water buffalo is secured.
“For the kids it’s just one of those stories they can recount to grandchildren for years to come,” Dick said. “I know I’m going to remember it.”
— with files from Gary Ahuja