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Small herd of escaped buffalo shot after crossing highway, Hudson River

April 24: A herd of buffalo runs in a yard adjacent to the New York State Thruway in Bethlehem, N.Y. About 15 of the animals got loose Thursday from a farm in the Rensselaer County town of Schodack, on the river's east bank a few miles southeast of Albany.

April 24: A herd of buffalo runs in a yard adjacent to the New York State Thruway in Bethlehem, N.Y. About 15 of the animals got loose Thursday from a farm in the Rensselaer County town of Schodack, on the river's east bank a few miles southeast of Albany.  (AP)

DEVELOPING: Fifteen buffalo that escaped an upstate New York farm Friday were gunned down by hunters apparently hired by the small herd's owners after the animals wandered across a highway and even crossed the Hudson River.

Authorities said Friday the herd was shot and killed because they became a danger after crossing the New York State Thruway.

Three men hired by the farm were cleared to open fire Friday afternoon in a stream in woods in the town of Coeymans, about 10 miles south of the capital.

Police say the decision was made after experts agreed tranquilizers would not be effective and no portable corrals could hold the animals.

Authorities say they escaped Thursday from a farm across the Hudson River in the Rensselaer County town of Schodack. The owner believes they swam across the river to the town of Bethlehem, where they wandered across a busy stretch of Interstate 87 and into neighboring Coeymans.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.