Joaquin the llama was out on a multi-day packing trip through Yellowstone National Park when the worst-case scenario became a reality.
A herd of bison thundered through Yellowstone Llamas’ camp at Cache Creek on Aug. 12, spooking Joaquin — who’s terrified of bison — to his core, owner Susi Hülsmeyer-Sinay told McClatchy News in an email.
The llama bolted and raced off toward the trailhead, where he knew he would find the safety of his familiar trailer.
But the bison were there at the trailhead, too, Hülsmeyer-Sinay said.
“He is terrified of bison so will not be near any area where they roam,” she said, adding that she suspected Joaquin changed course when he caught wind of the bison.
One of the packing trip guides had followed after Joaquin as he ran off, but they couldn’t keep up and didn’t see where he went, she said.
Except for a sighting at Trout Lake two days later, Joaquin has been missing ever since — even with several hiking groups out there trying to find him, Hülsmeyer-Sinay said. Trout Lake is about four miles northeast of the Lamar River trailhead.
He’s trailing a long lead line, and Hülsmeyer-Sinay worries if it gets stuck on something, it could trap him without water — or block him from running away from a predator.
“We continue to do our utmost to find the llama but he may have continued to run and it is hard to know where he could be by now,” she said.
The team at Yellowstone Llamas spread the word to several groups that operate within the park, as well as the National Park Service.
Joaquin is friendly, so he probably wouldn’t run away from anyone trying to get a hold of him, she said.
Joaquin is a tall, brown llama with a mostly white face. He’s almost as big as an elk, Hülsmeyer-Sinay told Buckrail.
“He’s friendly, he likes people, so I expect if people walk up to him, he won’t bolt, he’ll be relieved,” she told the outlet.
If anyone spots him or is able to get a hold of him, they should call the Yellowstone National Park Backcountry Office at 307-344-2160.