A hunt ended in death Sunday morning, but not for the usual reasons.
Members of the Victoria Fish and Game Protective Association had been searching for Otis, a feral llama that loved to spend time on their gun range. Last week, members became concerned when they realized it had been close to two weeks since they had seen their unofficial range mascot – an unusually long time for Otis not to have wandered through.
Members and volunteers began combing the woods and flying drones through the area in efforts to find him. On Sunday morning, a search party discovered Otis on a section of the range property, dead from likely natural causes.
In a social media post, the association said there were no signs that he was injured or attacked by a predator.
Otis originally lived on a property adjacent to the range, but because there was no fence holding him in, he would regularly wander over. When the property owner got old and moved away, he left Otis behind.
On the range, Otis was known by many as Waldo – as in “Where’s Waldo?” – as they worked to ensure they weren’t shooting anywhere near him. Otis (Waldo) would even let a few members pet and feed him.
“We’re very attached to him,” association president Doug Bancroft said speaking with Black Press Media last week. “The kids love him, everybody does.”
After six years of having the Otis wander their range, Bancroft said they knew it had to come to an end at some point – llama’s don’t live forever, after all. But, it was still a painful moment when he was found Sunday.
“Waldo was loved by many and was a unique and welcome presence at the MP range during his time with us. He will be greatly missed,” the association wrote in its post.
It also thanked all the community members who helped spread the word and search for their feral friend.
“It was truly heartwarming to see how many people’s lives he had touched over the years.”
–With files from Jake Romphf
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