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Escaped bison causes concern near Corvallis school

Posted at 1:46 PM, Jan 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-13 15:49:00-05

CORVALLIS – A bison, who we now know is named Tonka, escaped from his pen in the Bitterroot Valley on Thursday morning.

Lea Morgan, who videoed the incident, told us Friday that Tonka escaped from his pen around 9:30 a.m. and strolled through the neighborhood at a leisurely pace.

At one point, the bison came very close to Morgan’s home and several people called the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office to report he was on the loose.

The Sheriff’s Office called the owner, who was able to safely bring him back home.

We are told no tranquilizer darts or harnesses were needed to rope in the bison. He simply followed his owner back home one block away from Corvallis Elementary School.

Some parents and teachers took to social media to voice their concerns about the safety of students, but Corvallis School District Superintendent Tim Johnson said there’s no cause for concern.

“The variation of threats is almost immeasurable, so this is something that we don’t get too hung up on specific scenarios as much as when there’s a threat that’s on campus,” Johnson said. “How do we respond? And I think that’s the biggest take away from this is that the communication worked well. It’s again an unusual circumstance but it’s something that we prepare for and we work on.”

-Reported by Lauren Heiser/MTN News