Holy cow: Anchorage man has no line on missing bovine
Normally during this time of year, Anchorage trails offer a chance to see wildlife like moose and lynx – but recently, bikers, hikers and skiers have been left udderly shocked.
"Is that a cow?" said Anchorage resident Will Ross.
While out biking on an Anchorage trail, Ross ran into an animal that's not among your typical Alaska wildlife.
"I saw some hoof prints; I thought, 'I'm going to run into a moose ahead,'" Ross said. "Then when I saw it it wasn't a moose – it was a lot bigger than a moose and darker too – and so then, my next reaction was 'Bear!'"
It wasn't a bear that made Ross stop his ride.
"It turned its head and we looked at each other long enough for me to take a picture of it," he said. "And yeah: it was a cow."
This cow, who goes by the name Betsy, has an owner who is desperately searching for her. Frank Koloski has been looking for her every day for the past six months after she escaped a junior event at the Father's Day Rodeo in June.
He had purchased Betsy the day before the rodeo, anticipating that he would use her for educational demonstrations because organizers with Rodeo Alaska work to connect kids with animals.
At some point, Koloski said, Betsy may have pushed her weight against a gate that hadn’t been closed all the way. Or maybe someone accidentally let her out.
All Koloski knows for certain is that she was in her pen one moment, and the next she was gone. That's why he is dedicated to finding Betsy.
"It's hard; it really is," Koloski said. "You have a black cow with dark green spruce trees, knee-high grass that grows underneath them. It's all along the trail; she's got it made."
Since November Betsy has become a local celebrity, sought on area trails by outdoor enthusiasts.
"I never thought I would see it," said Anchorage resident Michelle Knutson. "Especially after I saw the very first post about it. I lived in Alaska all my life, and have never seen a cow roam that free and get so much attention for it."
Some have even chalked up multiple sightings, like Hilltop Ski Area employee Sean Bradley.
"We have seen her a few times," he said. "Me and my coworker tried to get close to her, and she would run before we could get closer then 15 feet. To me, it seems like she is very active at night and beds down during the day."
After multiple sightings along the trail and excited Facebook posts, skiers and bikers in Anchorage – and even local police – are keeping an eye out for Betsy.
"I absolutely think this is a team effort here in Anchorage, and I welcome the support," Koloski said.
People have called him to let him know where Betsy is, but she seems to sneak away before he gets there.
Her new home is Far North Bicentennial Park where there's over 100 miles of trails, as well as more than 4,000 acres with plenty of grass under the trees and running water.
Koloski knows she's doing well in the wild, but he says it's time to bring the bovine's adventure to a happy end.
"I just want her to come home," said Frank." I just to be able to see her so I can get her home with her other buddies."
Till the cow comes home, the search continues.
If you do see Betsy out on the trails, Koloski asks people to message or call him at 907-748-7336.
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