Behold Turkules, the turkey who charmed and terrorized a New Jersey town for months

As It Happens

A wild turkey has been caught and relocated to the wilderness after months of evading capture and gaining notoriety in West Orange, N.J.

After evading capture for months, Turkules has been caught and relocated in time for U.S. Thanksgiving

Sheena Goodyear · CBC Radio

· Posted: Nov 23, 2023 6:27 PM EST | Last Updated: November 23, 2023

Turkules the wild turkey roams a garden in West Orange, N.J., with a tranquillzer dart sticking out of his chest, seemingly having no effect. (Submitted by Gia Garcia)

As It Happens 6:45 Behold Turkules, the turkey who charmed and terrorized a New Jersey town for months

For the longest time, it seemed as though nothing could stop Turkules the turkey.

The wild fowl roamed the streets of West Orange, N.J., for months, gaining both fame and notoriety as it stopped traffic, pecked tires, chased residents and evaded state officials’ many attempts to capture him.

When he was hit by a car, he walked away “unscathed,” according to a statement by the West Orange Township . When an officer shot him with a tranquilizer gun, he appeared unaffected and “continued to wear the dart defiantly.”

“Picture seeing this turkey. He’s, like, magnificent. Like, he’s huge. And there’s a tranq dart sticking out of him, and he’s just walking around with it,” Gia Garcia, a West Orange resident and Turkules superfan, told As It Happens host Nil Köksal.

“Like the Terminator. Like nothing happened at all.”

WATCH | A failed attempt to catch Turkules:

Watch Turkules — the ungovernable New Jersey turkey — evade capture A wild turkey has been caught and relocated to the wilderness after months of both charming and terrorizing the residents of West Orange, N.J. Here, a motorist captures one of the state’s several failed attempts to catch the bird, known locally as Turkules.

But the ungovernable bird’s local hijinks have come to an end. The municipality issued a statement on Wednesday informing residents that Turkules has been caught, pardoned by the mayor for his alleged crimes, and relocated to an “undisclosed location” out of town.

“Had it not been for the number of complaints the township had received with regard to Turkules’s aggressive behaviour concerning pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists, and motorists, township officials would have been content to allow Turkules to remain as long as he wanted,” the statement reads.

‘Oh my God, he’s beautiful’ It’s not clear exactly when Turkules arrived in West Orange, but residents have been reporting sightings of him since at least the summer, according to the Guardian newspaper.

While he was known to harass passersby, his scrappy personality soon turned him into a local celebrity. He was profiled in the New York Times . Turkules has his own Facebook page . And a petition calling on the city to guarantee his protection and pardon his crimes garnered more than 500 signatures .

He picked up several local nicknames, including “Cluck Norris” and “Gobbles McFeathers,” but Turkules — which rhymes with Hercules — is the one that really stuck. 

“It’s like seeing a celebrity,” resident Ben Maimin told the Times. “It’s like our version of Taylor Swift coming to town.”

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