DNR reports death of fan-favorite O’Bannon Woods ox ‘Forrest’

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Forrest (Photo provided by Indiana Department of Natural Resources)

CORYDON, Ind. — The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced Tuesday the death of Forrest, one of two working Durham Shorthorn oxen at the Hickory Hollow Nature Center at O’Bannon Woods State Park.

DNR said Forrest recently died of natural causes at the age of 14.

“Forrest was a gentle giant who weighed 2,500 pounds. He loved carrots and animal crackers in addition to his steady diet of hay and grain. Gump will continue to be a part of haypress demonstrations and other park activities,” said a DNR spokesperson.

According to DNR, Forrest was a park ambassador since coming to O’Bannon Woods State Park (7234 Old Forest Road, Corydon, Indiana) with his partner Gump in 2008.

He was known for representing the park at local parades, leading First Day Hikes with park staff every New Year’s and visiting the Pioneer Village at the Indiana State Fair. Forrest also operated the park’s historic hay press.

DNR said both oxen were raised and trained for 18 months as a 4-H project in Maine, and interpretive naturalist Jarrett Manek continued their training when they arrived at O’Bannon Woods.

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