Durham authorities nab exotic ram after months on the lam

jshaffer@newsobserver.comDecember 10, 2013 

Bubba, the exotic ram that spent months on the run in Durham, was lured into a trap using apples and sweet corn Tuesday. Animal control deputies say he was unharmed.

DURHAM COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

— The exotic sheep nicknamed Bubba, who appeared mysteriously in yards around Durham and defied repeated attempts at capture, ended his four-month grazing spree Tuesday by walking into a man-made trap.

Animal control deputies spotted the Barbados-Mouflon ram in a neighborhood on Glover Road and lured him into an all-metal cage baited with apples and sweet corn, said Paul Sherwin, spokesman for the Durham County Sheriff’s Office.

Bubba remains unharmed.

“They built this custom contraption, and in he walked,” Sherwin said. “Kudos to these guys. The problem is he’s strong and can jump really high.”

In August, the shaggy, 125-pound ram appeared in the neighborhood around Odyssey Drive, not far from The Streets at Southpoint shopping center. His wanderings puzzled people in a neighborhood as there was no obvious source of hoofed mammals with long curling horns nearby.

Neighbors feared for his safety as he meandered between houses, peering in windows and drinking from birdbaths. Attempts to corral him with nets and tranquilizer guns failed, and the sheep proved to be skittish around the law enforcement officers and TV vans that arrived.

He retreated into the woods but continued his travels, showing up in pictures on Twitter.com. One sheep-watcher posted a shot of Bubba on the GlaxoSmithKline campus in Research Triangle Park.

But Tuesday morning, deputies watching their trap from a distance pulled a rope, which lowered what was described as a heavy livestock gate. The sheriff’s office released a photograph of Bubba in captivity, looking healthy but considerably less brazen than he did during the summer.

He will be taken to a farm for 30 days and then put up for auction, as required by law, Sherwin said. If there are no bids, he said, “We haven’t thought that far ahead.”

Wherever he goes, he leaves a city unlikely to forget him – or his months spent on the lam.

Shaffer: 919-829-4818

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