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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower