Search for Scottish buffalo on the run takes to skies

The search for a buffalo which has been on the run for two weeks has taken to the skies, after a number of small planes were drafted in to help.

Buffalos at Stevie Mitchells Buffalo Farm, in Kirkcaldy, Fife. Picture: CP

Staff at Scotland’s largest buffalo farm have been searching for the 400kg beast which jumped a gate during a routine weighing more than a fortnight ago.

It has also been revealed that the animal - named Bert by the public - will now be spared the chopping block, after becoming extremely popular.

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Steve Mitchell, of Buffalo Farm in Kirkcaldy, Fife, says UK Civil Air Patrol Scotland (UKCAPS) got in touch to offer help.

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He said: “It’s great to have UKCAPS on board with this search.

“I hope that their aircraft and crews will be able to cover a much larger area than we have previously on the ground.

“I also understand that the search they are undertaking will be co-ordinated with a vehicle on the ground that will be able to direct us directly towards any sightings immediately.”

The 35-year-old added: “The plane will be in the air until 3pm today (Thur), and flying quite low in the hope he will be spooked out of the woods.

“I was out until the wee hours last night with the thermal imaging kit, but with no success.

“We still have some decoy cows out to try and attract him.”

Steve said he has been blown away by the kindness of the public in the quest to find Bert.

He said: “”The amount of enquiries we’ve had has just been staggering.

“It’s caught the imagination of a lot of children.

“A lot of mums are getting harassed into finding out ‘how’s the buffalo?’, which is very sweet.

“If we do recover him he’ll be safe now from becoming burgers, and he’ll perhaps become more of an attraction to promote our farm shop.

“People are just fascinated by this story and what he has been up to, so he has definitely earned himself a spot in a new petting zoo.”

UKCAPS Deputy Unit Chief Pilot Norman Sutherland said: “UKCAPS have supported a lot of wildlife related searches over the last 10 years.

“In that time we’ve looked for dogs, seals, whales, even birds of prey but I can’t recall us ever searching for a buffalo - although it’s not unknown.

“The kind of light aircraft we utilise are regularly used in Africa to support wildlife conservation projects, including looking for elephants, rhinos and other endangered species.

“They can fly low and slow with excellent views of the ground.

“The challenge is always searching for something in wooded areas - especially when it is actively trying to hide - as is the case with this fellow.”

Steve says one-year-old Bert was last spotted on Saturday.

He said he is “still petrified” for the animal and is praying to get him back safe and sound soon.