Windsor residents adopt Brahma bull
He is a two-ton Brahma bull of many names.
He was called ” Pink Panther” by the woman who owned him because his skin was pink when he was born 11 years ago in the Fulton Road area.
When Tony Vigil, a landscaper and handyman from Sebastopol, bought him a few months later, he shortened the name to “Panther” and drove him in a trailer to a field on Old Redwood Highway in Windsor about two years ago.
You may have noticed the light gray Brahma bull lying in a field and calmly watching traffic pass by on northbound Highway 101 near the Central Windsor exit.
He has since been called ”Windsor’s Mascot” and ”The Duke of Windsor” by the town’s residents who feed him, make sure he has water and some human touch.
Among his many unofficial caretakers are “The Brahma Mamas” - Lori Pennato, Gina Osmon, and a woman named Cathy.
“I make sure he has water every morning and bring him treats,” said Osmon, who works at the Hunsaker Farmers Insurance Agency near the 2.7-acre field that is Panther’s home.
“He is a love. We call him our 2,500-pound puppy,” Pennato said. “Every morning at 5:30 I’m there feeding him.”
The Brahma Mamas have spent their own money on alfalfa, grain and carrots for Panther.
Denise and Troy Allen and their 6-year-old son Elijah of Windsor brought Panther some of their aging fruit one recent Saturday afternoon.
“He likes pumpkins,” Denise said.
The Allens noticed Panther as they drove by on Highway 101.
“We’ve been doing it for a couple months. We clear out our old vegetable bins when we go shopping,” Denise said.
A sign posted on the gate at the field informs visitors Panther likes fruit, vegetables, and watermelon rinds, but it warns mildewed pumpkins can make Panther sick.
Panther shares the field with seven goats, including one that has been busy assuring a growing goat population. Whatever Panther doesn’t eat, the goats will.
Sandra Lambert, of Guerneville, is a frequent visitor because her grandmother lives in a house near the field. She said she an Tony Vigil are the only ones allowed in the field.
Lambert calls him “Pinky.”
“He likes his back scratched,” she said.
Until you stop scratching, that is. Panther wasn’t happy about that during Lambert’s visit one recent Saturday.
Brahman cattle were originally brought to the United States from India, where they are considered sacred by Hindus. There was a sizeable relocation of herds to the United States from Mexico in the 1920′s.
The bulls have a large hump over the top of the shoulder and neck, their horns curve upward and they have a large amount of sagging, excess skin at the throat, enough to make a turkey laugh.
They typically weigh 1,600-2,00 pounds, and their short thick, glossy hair reflects much of the sun’s rays. They show little effect of being in temperatures up to 105 degrees, which explains Panther’s comfort during his mid-day traffic watches in the bare field with only a small tree. There is a shade shelter nearby, however.
The bull’s temperament is described as inquisitive, intelligent , shy and adaptable to a wide range of climate.
“He’s real quiet. I’ve only heard him moo twice,” owner Tony Vigil said. “He’s gentle and people feed him from outside the gate,” Vigil said. “He’s like a little celebrity.”
Safari West Wildlife Preserve wanted to buy Panther, but Vigil, 52, said he wasn’t interested in selling him.
“I could never get rid of him. He’s my pet. I just want to thank the people who bring him food,” he said.
Panther mated with an Angus cow and has sired two offspring, Vigil said.
The owner of the Windsor field is Veronica Tedeschi of San Francisco. She has known Vigil for 20 years.
Tedeschi said having Panther on her land has not posed any problems.
“He loves the attention. He is a one-animal zoo,” she said.