Wandering water buffalo to be sold at state auction
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Officials can add another item to the list of odd things sold off by the State Agency for Surplus Property: Water buffalo.
After a nearly seven-week quarantine by the state Department of Agriculture, the infamous pair of water buffalo that wandered free for months in the hills of eastern Jackson County will now have their fate decided by the state's surplus property broker.
Agriculture officials announced last week they planned to auction the animals to the highest bidder.
That auction is now online. Bidding closes at 4 p.m. Thursday.
The highest bid as of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday: $224.50.
Water buffalo are large, horned bovines native to the highlands of Southeast Asia. They typically weigh about a ton, stand 5 to 6 feet tall and bear horns that can grow as long as 5 feet.
The auction site lists the mother as 5 to 6 years old and weighing about 1,100 pounds. Her bull calf is believed to be 6 to 9 months old and weigh about 375 pounds.
Officials believe the two were left behind by a local game farm that closed last year.
After escaping the farm's confines, the animals made their home on the edge of 93-year-old homemaker Mildred McEntire's property along Donohue Road in Evans.
McEntire's relatives tried for several weeks to get local authorities to do something about the animals, but the matter got bogged down by jurisdiction issues.
Since the animals were not native species, the state Division of Natural Resources did not have authority to deal with them.
Eventually, the state Department of Agriculture stepped up to handle the buffalo.
In early February, state officials captured the animals and moved them to a quarantined area.
According to the auction site, the animals are being sold in "as is" condition.
Both animals have tested negative for tuberculosis and brucellosis. They have been fed good-quality hay and some grain.
The buffalo are currently being held at the Lakin State Farm in West Columbia, Mason County. Officials would like to have them moved from state property by April 5.
The auction requires 48-hour advance notice for pickup and specifies that the buyer must have an adequate facility to house the buffalo.
Potential buyers can schedule an inspection of the buffalo before bidding by calling 304-558-2211, extension 2520.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4836.