Here’s something you don’t see every day, a cow in Poland apparently got so bored of its life as a domestic animal on a farm that it escaped and joined a herd of wild bison on the edge of the primeval Bialowieza Forest, on the Belarusian border The copper-colored cow has been living with its new bison family in eastern Poland for the past three months, and seems to have adjusted just fine.
The first person to spot the cow in the bison herd was ornithologist Adam Zbyryt. At first glance, he thought the small reddish brown specimen was a bison exhibiting a mutation. However, after focusing his binocluars on it, he realized it was actually a Limousin cow, a French breed that is popular in Poland. The young bovine appeared healthy and at ease with the bigger animals.
Photos of the cow sticking out like sore thumb among the bison went viral in Polish media a few months ago, but naturalists were sure the animal wasn’t going to last long in the wild. They assumed that as winter set in, it would wander back to the farm from which it had escaped, but they were wrong.
A few days ago, the cow was spotted again, this time by biologist and bison expert Rafal Kowalczyk. The domestic animal looked healthy, and at ease among the bison herd. He told the Associated Press that the survival of the cow in the wild is likely thanks to the thick fur common to the Limousin breed combined with the unusually mild winter in eastern Poland this time of year.
Scientists intend to remove the cow from the bison by summer to prevent mating, although Kowalczyk said that wouldn’t be an easy process.
“One question is whether when winter ends the cow will follow the bison into the forest, which is not the habitat that this cow knows,” Kowalczyk said. “The more time she spends in the herd, the riskier it will be.”