Have you seen Yvonne the cow?

If you were missing 'silly season' news this summer, fear not – the saga of a runaway bovine is a classic of the genre

A A A

As events go this turbulent August, the disappearance of a cow from a small farm in Bavaria doesn't quite have the resonance of Colonel Gadaffi's last stand, the arrest one-by-one of Rupert Murdoch's staff, or the implosion of the world economy. But the story of Yvonne, a six-year-old bovine who broke through an electrified fence on 24 May and has been on the run ever since, is moving ominously up the news agenda and, in the coming days, may well eclipse all other concerns. Can a comment from David Starkey on the shortcomings of German animal husbandry be far behind?

In her first weeks of liberty, few outside her own farmyard paid any attention to a cow who, marked down for a one-way ticket to the abattoir, had gone on the lam. But gradually her ability to evade capture has brought her fame beyond even the wildest of bovine dreams. So far she has outwitted Bavarians armed with telescopic sights, a helicopter equipped with thermal-imaging gear, an animal tracker whose skills were honed on the African savannah, and the searching eyes of police, ramblers and fortune-seekers after the €10,000 (£8,700) price on her head.

There has been the odd sighting, but, by the time the men with the tranquillising darts have shown up, Yvonne has melted back into the depths of the pine forest. Yet if humans have been unable to make contact with her, she, apparently, has got in touch with them. An Austrian animal psychic claims to have telepathically reached Yvonne, who has reassured her public that she is OK, but still too afraid to give herself up.

All this has added to her growing legend. German media have embraced her as a welcome respite from the travails of the eurozone, Facebook groups dedicated to her have tens of thousands of followers, and a song by a band called Gnadenkapelle is played incessantly by radio stations. "Why don't you leave Yvonne alone, she's only a runaway cow... You wild cow, don't let them take your freedom," runs the lyric, the snappiness of which may have lost something in translation.

A looming deadline, however, hangs over her. In the early days of her escape, Yvonne nearly collided with a police car, and the authorities in Muehldorf declared her a public danger who should be shot on sight. Animals activists rallied, the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism issued a condemnatory statement, and the order was rescinded – until Friday. An animal sanctuary with branches near Salzburg, Austria and Munich, Germany has bought Yvonne, and cancelled her date with the slaughterhouse, and promised it will ensure that she sees out her days in pastured contentment.

As a result, gentler methods have been deployed to try to lure her back into captivity. Her sister Waltraud was tethered in a likely area, in the hope that the prospect of a family reunion might act as a lure. The bellows of her son Friesi were recorded and have been played in the woods, alas without success. And there has even been an attempt to play on what you might call her more animal instincts. A bull called Ernst was brought to the relevant areas, but his magnetism failed to work. This may, or may not, be connected to the fact that Ernst has been castrated.

There were fleeting glimpses on Thursday, and the only known photographs of the absentee cow show Yvonne to be worryingly thin. There are also reports that she has been seen with a herd of deer. But last night, as darkness fell, the 1,500lb Yvonne was still very much at large.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
fashion
News
news
News
people
Travel
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Website Editor

£15 - £17 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently r...

Primary Supply teaching jobs in Stowmarket

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...

Year 1 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: The Job An inner city Birmingham sc...

Year 2 Teacher - Maternity cover

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Year 2 maternity cover, startin...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments