Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union
REDWOOD PARK – One of two yaks which used to accompany Tom Vanciel and Samuel Sanchez on argument-laced spiritual forays around Arcata was found roaming loose Sunday afternoon, Oct. 11.
According to an Arcata Police Department press release, a citizen called at about 2:05 p.m. about a loose yak in the 700 block of Fickle Hill Road.
Officers found the yak roaming free, continued the press release. Described as “skittish,” it would not allow officers near it. They kept an eye on the yak and provided traffic control as the yak made its way to Redwood Park.
Shannon Miranda of Miranda’s Rescue responded and was able to safely corral the yak in the park’s meadow area. The yak was taken to the Miranda’s Rescue animal sanctuary in Fortuna. See video here.
“We are happy to report that the yak is feeding happily at our sanctuary,” said a Miranda’s Rescue Facebook post on Monday.
The yak was one of two that on accompanied the former “yaksmen,” Vanciel and Sanchez, on meandering treks around Arcata.
Tuesday, Sanchez enjoyed a walk in the pre-rain sunshine along Bayside Road with his new animal companion, a goat named Manna. Apart from Vanciel, Sanchez is more communicative and cordial.
He said he had been away in Hayfork over the weekend, trying to breed the female yak which, along with the male taken into custody Sunday, used to roam the town with Sanchez and Vanciel as "spiritual envoys" who were purifying the town. Rumors of the female's demise, he said, are incorrect.
Sanchez said he had heard something about the male's capture, but wasn’t clear on details.
He said he had left the yak “way back in the forest” to forage on its own. It had stayed at the unspecified location for a month one previous time, and was found none the worse for wear when Sanchez returned. This time, though, the animal quickly located the exit, making for Sunday’s misadventure.
Sanchez expressed relief that Appa was in safe hands, and said he didn’t wish to re-acquire the yak from Miranda’s Rescue. Caring for the large animals, he said, was “too much for one person."
Meanwhile, Vanciel has been traveling in India and the Phillipines. His Facebook page features images and video from the island nation. Sanchez said Vanciel had been buying cows for people.
Shannon Miranda said Appa is in decent shape.
The fluffy ruminant is “not emaciated,” Miranda said, but is enjoying helpings of fresh alfafa and hay. Its tail is matted with redwood fronds. “He kinda needs some TLC right now,” Miranda said.
Occasional helpings of grain are special treats. “It’s like chocolate to a child,” he said. “It keeps ’em happy.”
The yak’s nose appears sore and stretched, and Miranda wondered if it had been led with use of a nose ring. Old photos of the animal on Arcata’s streets confirm that it had.
“Those are crazy, awful,” he said. “They hurt so bad.”
The yak was docile and gentlemanly from the moment they met during Sunday’s Redwod Park drama.
“Once I got him, we stuck a halter on him and he jumped right in the trailer,” Miranda said.
For now, Appa was feasting and getting comfortable. “I’m just letting him get used to me,” Miranda said.
Though his sanctuary had received multiple calls from people eager to adopt the yak, he said it would live out its days there.
“I’m going to go ahead and keep him,” Miranda said. He’d like to know how old the yak is.
He said people familiar with the animal’s previous circumstance have thanked him for saving it. One suggested that he was now a “yak man.”
“No, I’m not the new ‘yak man’,” Miranda said.