Moohunt: Runaway cow captures German hearts

August 19, 2011 - 7:20 AM

BERLIN (AP) — A runaway cow named Yvonne is on the loose in Germany and the manhunt — or moohunt — for the Bavarian bovine has captivated the country.

The freedom-loving cow ran away from a little farm in Bavaria in May and has managed to hide successfully in the forests of southern Germany ever since — despite her sturdy 1,500-pound (700-kilogram) figure.

Locals have reported a few sightings of the brown dairy cow with the white head, but every time search teams have tried to capture her, Yvonne had already hoofed it from the area. A helicopter equipped with a thermal camera used in search-and-rescue missions returned Thursday empty-handed.

Searchers have tried to lure Yvonne into the open with food, with the bellows of her son Friesi and her sister Waltraud, even with a prospective mate named Ernst. Scores of volunteers are combing upper Bavaria's woods for her.

The six-year-old animal would have never made national headlines if it hadn't been for a near-collision with a police car days after she broke away. The rural district office in Muehldorf reacted by labeling the big-eyed bovine a public danger and ordering her shot on sight.

That prompted animal-rights activists to rally to her defense. A Facebook page calling for Yvonne's rescue had more-than 23,000 "likes" by Friday, and Germany's biggest-selling newspaper, Bild, has offered a euro10,000 ($14,369) award on its front page for anyone who helps find Yvonne.

In the wake of all the attention, the order to shoot Yvonne has been suspended.

A Bavarian animal sanctuary has bought Yvonne from her former owners — sight unseen, of course — and is taking the lead in trying to rescue her. "We're hot on her tail," it reported Friday.

Meanwhile, a song by local band Gnadenkapelle has become an instant radio hit.

"Why don't you leave Yvonne alone, she's only a runaway cow... You wild cow, don't let them take your freedom," they sing.

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Online:

Gnadenkapelle song mp3: http://www.gnadenkapelle.com/musik/Yvonne%20du%20wuide%20Kua.MP3

Farm Updates: www.gut-aiderbichl.com