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Ask Cam

Steers and llamas and bears, oh my!

May 5, 2009

Question:

When was the last time a cow or bull was loose on campus?

Cam’s answer:

What a great question! Your favorite mascot had to phone up his four-legged friends (and a few of the two-legged variety, too) to ask if they remembered the loose-steer caper.

It took a bit of digging and snuffling around, but I found out that late at night on Oct. 8, 1990, a steer escaped from the Livestock Pavilion area south of the Animal Sciences Building. After some two hours of being chased all over by campus and city police, the steer ambled back onto campus but spooked when some women screamed when they saw him by the Visual Arts Building.
 

Rampage damage

The big beast then broke out a large window on the north arcade of Edwards Hall and chased students down to the northeast wing. The animal kicked open a residence door and went inside and trashed the place, destroying a stereo, guitar, bike, desk, clothes, and other items belonging to two male students who lived there. Fortunately, the two weren’t home at the time of the rampage, and nobody was injured, not man nor beast. The steer eventually was corralled and taken back to his own home.
 

Cub scout tale

But wait, here’s another animal memory! I remember a black bear cub who became separated from his mother and somehow made his way onto campus on the first day of Fall Preview in 2003. (The photo of the bear at right was taken by my good buddy, Paul Miller, editor and writer at Communications and Creative Services.)

The cub climbed an elm near Spruce Hall on the northeast side of campus, where he lounged in the crook of a limb while police and wildlife officials spent a few hours figuring out what to do.
 

Human circus

The cub created quite a stir before he was captured and removed to a safer place. Adam Warren, senior Web developer who worked at the Lory Student Center at the time, remembers coming to work that morning and seeing traffic commotion and a horde of people in the area.

“It didn’t take long to realize what everybody was looking at,” Adam says. “It was sure a sight. To this day, it’s the only ‘wild’ bear I’ve ever seen.”

Only memories

Joan Williams from the CSU Police tells me, “Animals occasionally get out at the Foothills Campus, but since we haven’t had livestock on the Main Campus for a while, there have been no other cattle incidents in recent years that we can recall.”

She does remember when police helped catch an escaped llama on College Avenue in the late 1980s and several other incidents in the past when wildlife appeared on campus, including two mountain lions.

In addition to my esteemed animal colleagues who I interviewed for this story, I also must thank former CSU-PD employees Bob Chaffee from Training and Organizational Development and Karl Swenson from Environmental Health Services for their help.