Diesel the escaped pet donkey found living with elk after five years

<span>A hunter spotted a donkey living with elks in northern California.</span><span>Photograph: @maxfennell via Instagram</span>
A hunter spotted a donkey living with elks in northern California.Photograph: @maxfennell via Instagram

A donkey spotted apparently living with a herd of wild elk in a video that went viral on the internet has been identified as Diesel, a once beloved pet who had apparently run away five years ago.

The video was taken earlier this year, when Max Fennell, a hunter in northern California, filmed a group of wild elk apparently hanging out with a donkey who appeared to be a member of their herd.

The short clip of the unusual scene rapidly spread across social media. Now Terrie Drewry and her husband, Dave, have told CBS news that they are convinced the free-roaming burro is their missing pet Diesel, who had scarpered into the wilderness five years earlier.

“It was amazing. It was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Finally, we saw him. Finally, we know he’s good. He’s living his best life. He’s happy. He’s healthy, and it was just a relief,” Drewry told CBS.

The Drewrys revealed that Diesel had gone missing after getting scared on a trail while on a hiking trip with his human family. They searched for him in vain, though a trail camera spotted him, and hoof prints showed that he was still alive.

Despite their joy, in seeing Diesel alive and apparently thriving as a want-to-be elk, they have no plans to try to capture him.

“He’s out there doing what he’s raised to do,” Drewry told the television network.