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Escaped goat living on slope above railway line in east Japan lured to safety

The rescued goat, left, and the goat Sakura that was used to lure it, are seen in Sakura, Chiba Prefecture, on Aug. 11, 2020. (Mainichi/ Mamoru Kanazawa)
The rescued goat is seen back with its owner Kuniharu Shishime, in Sakura, Chiba Prefecture, on Aug. 11, 2020. (Mainichi/Mamoru Kanazawa)

CHIBA -- A young goat that strayed onto a steep slope above a railway line out of the reach of its owner in the city of Sakura in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, has been rescued after spending over two months there.

    The female goat was lured off the concrete retaining wall covering the slope and into a cage using another young goat.

    The runaway animal's 63-year-old owner, Kuniharu Shishime, said he was relieved to have the goat back without injury to the animal or anyone else.

    "I'm so happy," he said with a smile. "I want to put up a proper fence so it doesn't escape again and raise it."

    While frolicking about on the slope, the goat, aged around 6 months, had attracted onlookers who nicknamed it "Ponyo," after the anime whose Japanese title translates as "Ponyo on the cliff." As the slope was about 20 meters high and trains on the Keisei Main Line traveled directly beneath it, people were unable to approach the animal.

    Early on the morning of Aug. 11, another female goat named Sakura, which was about the same age, was placed in a cage at the top of the slope to lure Ponyo -- taking advantage of goats' herding tendency. About 10 minutes after people moved away from the cage, the stray goat came close and entered it. The door of the cage was then shut with a rope, and rescuers quickly entered the cage and held Ponyo, who soon calmed down.

    (Japanese original by Mamoru Kanazawa, Chiba Bureau)

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