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Lost donkey seen with elk herd 5 years later

A donkey that went missing in California five years ago has been caught on camera wandering with a herd of wild elk.

“I came across a herd of elk who have adopted a donkey,” triathlete and hunter Max Fennell wrote on Instagram alongside a video of the mixed herd. “I can’t help but see it and I’m amazed that the donkey looks happy and healthy!”

The footage, recorded during a hunting trip and posted in March, shows a donkey standing among a dozen elk. Members of the herd look at the camera at the same time before trotting away.

The storybook scene took place a few miles from the spot in Northern California’s Cache Creek Wilderness where a male donkey named Diesel disappeared in 2019, CBS Sacramento reported.

One of Diesel’s owners, Terrie Drewry, told the news station in an interview published Thursday that he is definitely the donkey in the video.

Diesel was walking with Terrie Drewry’s husband, Dave Drewry, when something scared him and he escaped. For weeks the couple searched for the donkey on foot and even with drone assistance, but were never able to find it.

It was “amazing” to see Diesel apparently flourish in the recent video, Terrie Drewry told CBS Sacramento.

“He’s living his best life,” she said. “He’s happy. He’s healthy, and it was just a relief.

An earlier video shared to Instagram by user Mikki Rhodes also appeared to show Diesel wandering around with moose. Rhodes said in a caption that his owners were “very happy” to see the donkey doing well.

Diesel knows how to live without the help of people. He was originally a feral donkey, adopted through a Bureau of Land Management program. The program offers members of the public the opportunity to adopt animals captured in the federal agency’s controversial wild horse and burro roundups, with the goal of reducing the animals’ free-roaming population on public lands.