"He's living his best life"
June 21, 2024 11:37 PM   Subscribe

In 2019, Diesel the donkey had gone missing after getting scared on a trail while on a hiking trip with his human family from Auburn, California. Five years later, he has been spotted living with a herd of wild elk.
posted by ShooBoo (17 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
This post made my day. Thank you.
posted by jerome powell buys his sweatbands in bulk only at 11:45 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]

"He's out there doing what he's raised to do," "He's not aggressive, he's a lover,..." Diesel's destiny was to be free and help his fellow animals lead their best life. Some lead with aggression. Diesel leads with compassion and love. He's no ass.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:14 AM on June 22 [14 favorites]

Thanks, that's just a beautiful article. Diesel is quite a being.
posted by unearthed at 12:44 AM on June 22

The elk herd is a few miles away from where Diesel first went missing and in an area where there are no wild donkeys.
the last part of that statement is no longer true
posted by HearHere at 5:01 AM on June 22 [12 favorites]

DIESEL, awwwwww yay.
posted by Glinn at 5:59 AM on June 22

Huh, I live near Auburn and know it as a giant stretch of slurb where I-80 meets 49. And I'm like "we have elk around here?". Nope.

The map in the video clip shows a spot northwest of Sacramento, where highway 20 rises out of the Central Valley on its way up to Clearlake in the coast range. It's pretty country there and kind of remote.

And home to Tule Elk apparently. CA Fish & Wildlife manages elk and has been reintroducing the population, Wikipedia put the population at 5700 in 2019. Plus one donkey.
posted by Nelson at 6:11 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]

They're intensely social. If you're going to get one, get two. Your farmyard will be much quieter.
posted by ocschwar at 8:35 AM on June 22 [6 favorites]

(Looks at the original article: the owners did keep two donkeys. That's proper donkey husbandry there.)
posted by ocschwar at 8:38 AM on June 22 [4 favorites]

Yeah, the title of the article is a bit misleading. It sounds like the people live near Auburn, but Diesel was lost on a trip near Clearlake?

Also note that Diesel was an adopted wild burro, so he isn't a fully domestic beast, he's just returning to his roots.
posted by agentofselection at 8:44 AM on June 22 [5 favorites]

Hmmm. I'm wondering if wildlife authorities are as blasé as the owners about letting Diesel 'living his best life' and 'returning to his roots'.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy Diesel seems to be doing ok, but the touchy-feely sentiment behind this story is the same BS that inspires people with old domestic horses to turn them loose in the Owyhee desert so they can live out their old age 'wild' and 'free' while the owners avoid fiscal and moral responsibility. Meanwhile, the animals starve or die of thirst behind fences.
posted by BlueHorse at 10:33 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]

They didn't dump him, though, and he looks strong and healthy five years later, and clearly bonded with a herd of elk. So trying to recapture him would be difficult -- there's been only a few sightings so they are clearly reclusive -- and cause a lot of stress to both elk and donkey. And he's a single male so he's not going to produce a population of feral donkeys to disturb the ecosystem. So in those circumstances it seems kindest to let him be.
posted by tavella at 10:48 AM on June 22 [17 favorites]

Aww, I'm happy the couple have some closure on what happened to him, that he found a herd, and that the elk seem to now have an adopted protector. Thank you for sharing this.
posted by Saucy Possum at 10:53 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]

California is the perfect climate for semiferrall burros . Too I don't think we need to suspect the owners. If they only owned one I'd be suspicious, but they did get two.
posted by ocschwar at 11:27 AM on June 22

Diesel leads with compassion and love. He's no ass.

On the contrary: I'd like to nominate him as America's Ass.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:07 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]

And he's a single male so he's not going to produce a population of feral donkeys to disturb the ecosystem.

Well don't come running to me when a herd of feral delkeys break your legs and leave you for dead.
posted by biffa at 12:16 PM on June 22 [13 favorites]

Mod note: All sorts of good things can be found on the sidebar and in the Best Of blog, like this post!
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 6:49 AM on June 26

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