Dale is safe and sound back home again at Frying Pan Park, but he is in quarantined for 21 days to ensure he remains healthy after his nearly week-long adventure.
The calf, one of a set of rare black Angus bull calf twins born at the park July 24, disappeared Wednesday, Aug. 20, but was returned unharmed Monday.
"A person found the calf last Wednesday and took it to a local farm not knowing where it came from. She then saw the report on [a local news station] about the missing calf later that day and contacted the news station, which put her in touch with us," said Yvonne Johnson, the park's historian, on Monday. "Dale came back to us today as a matter of fact."
Johnson said the missing calf, whose brother is named Chip, was found in Reston near Route 7, which she said was too far for the calf to have wandered off by itself. Park personnel, however, have no theories as to how Dale got there. She said the incident was reported to the police, which is investigating the disappearance.
Chip and Dale are the first twin calves born at Frying Pan Park. The calves' mother, Jackie, who was also born at the park, was confused by the multiple birth and at first refused to feed the babies. Park personnel, for the health of both calves, decided to have Dale cared for by a foster mother, Lilly, a Jersey dairy cow at the park.
Besides being a park first, Chip and Dale are rarity in the world of cattle.
"Only 1 percent of black Angus have twins," Johnson said.