There’s a new terror roaming the black forests of Germany: a dairy cow named Yvonne who’s been on the run since May.
On May 24, shortly before she was scheduled to be shipped off for slaughter, the bovine beast named Yvonne broke free of her bonds and headed for the woods around the Bavarian village of Zangberg. The runaway ruminant has been at large ever since, living off the land, evading all attempts to capture or kill her and, in a nice twist for the locals, bringing some unexpected tourist dollars to the region she’s haunting.
Yvonne’s life on the lam hasn’t been without risk. She was almost hit by a police car, which is what brought her to the attention of authorities, and hunters have been given permission to shoot her on sight. Animal rights activists, meanwhile, want her brought in alive, but the food traps they’ve put out have been ignored, as were “companion cows” meant to draw her out. So now Michael Aufhauser, the founder of the Gut Aiderbichl animal sanctuary, is taking things to the next level: he’s brought in an animal psychic, who he hopes will help locate the cow and perhaps even convince her to come in.
“I spoke to her yesterday and she said that she was fine but didn’t feel ready to come out of hiding,” Franziska Matti, an “animal communication expert” from Switzerland, told the Guardian. “She said she knew that Ernst had been waiting for her but that she was scared. She said she thought that humans would lock her up and she would no longer be free.”
“Ernst” is plan B: “the George Clooney of bulls,” as Aufhauser described him, a massive, musky bull “with a deep baritone moo” that the cows apparently find irresistible. Aufhauser has also managed to track down Yvonne’s two-year-old son Friesi, who is now undergoing intensive training in order to learn how to best call to his mother. “We know the bond between mother cows and their sons is very strong,” he said. “She will not be able to ignore him.”
If Aufhauser gets to Yvonne before the hunters, he intends to let her life out her years in peace on his sanctuary, but he’s not motivated by altruism and a love for animals alone: the German magazine Bild has offered a €10,000 reward [over $14,400] for her safe capture. Don’t expect the hunters to give up without a fight, however; in 2006, the brown bear named Bruno, the first of his species to be seen on German soil in nearly 170 years, was shot and killed by hunters after Bavarian authorities declared that he was a “problem bear.”