RUIDOSO DOWNS, N.M. (KRQE) - An animal-control officer had a close encounter with a pair of animals people definitely want to avoid: a hungry javelina and her baby.
The animals are dangerous and could be responsible for what some thought was a wild hog problem in the Ruidoso area.
Residents in Ruidoso Downs have reported sporadic sightings of what some thought were feral hogs. Last September, a woman said her two dogs were attacked by a wild hog in her yard.
Wednesday morning, Animal Control Officer Charles Massey saw first-hand what he'd been trying to trap.
"The two larger males were off in the distance, and I was watching them as they were watching me," recalled Massey.
Massey knew a group of four javelinas had been rummaging near a home in Agua Fria, and he was working on a new trap to capture them.
"Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement, and it was the mother running at me because I had food in my hand that I was setting the trap with, and alongside was her little baby," explained Massey.
Needless to say, Massey made a mad dash for his truck.
"The two things that you never want to encounter with a wild animal is a mother with young, and food in your hand," he continued. "I had both of those broken."
Massey said he laughed at himself a little while running from the javelinas since he knew they likely just wanted the food.
"They're pretty fast," he added. "Short little legs can move pretty quick if there are four of them."
Massey said residents at the home where the javelinas were leave out wild turkey feed, which draws over a dozen turkeys on a given day. The only problem is, it also drew in a group of hungry javelinas.
The man who lives in the Agua Fria home said he'd seen the javelinas near his yard where turkeys hang out. But Massey said the javelinas had lost their fear of humans, and got too comfortable when they'd approach his gate.
At one point they were even found asleep under the man's truck inside his garage.
Wednesday afternoon, Massey's new trap worked. State Game and Fish Department officers assisted Massey in darting the group of four javelinas as they approached the food.
Massey hopes relocating the group will help curb their problem in town, for now.
"They're not indigenous to the mountainous area," Massey said. "They're more of a lowland-desert-type creature, but they're adapting.
"So it's just going to have to be something that we stay on top of."
Wildlife officials said javelinas are known to be aggressive and can attack humans or pets. If anyone sees them, they're asked to back away and call Animal Control.
Game and Fish officials relocated the family of javelinas captured Wednesday to Hale Lake in Lincoln County. Massey said he wants to thank game officers Vanlandingham and Holguin for their help in the successful capture and relocation.
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