The Runaway Cow Wild Wintering With Bison

Image credit: Rafal Kowalczyk / Facebook

Scientists said, It chose freedom”. I say, She chose freedom.” The story of the cow who prized freedom above the safety of home.

The story is set in Poland. So, as the heroine of this tale remains nameless as yet, I shall call her Swoboda, Polish for ‘Freedom’.

Ornithologist Adam Zbyryt was the first to spot her near the wild primeval forest of Bialowieza. “It’s not unusual to see bison near the Bialowieza Forest, but one animal caught my eye. It was a completely different shade from the rest of the herd, light-brown” he told a Polish news channel.

On closer inspection Swoboda turned out to be a Limousin cow, a French breed common in Poland. In spite of living on the hoof, so to speak, and exposed to the Polish winter, she was looking good – apparently healthy and unfazed by the snow and the giant bovines with horns of her adopted herd.

Another sighting of Swoboda took place this week, this time by biologist Rafal Kowalczyk. She is still keeping up with the bison, and happily still in fine fettle. At night wolves patrol the edges of the Bialowiez wilderness. A lone cow would be no match against such fearsome predators. For Swoboda to be surviving there, the bison must be protecting her.

The defiant cow has survived in the wild in the rough, Polish winter. Image credits: Adam Zbyryt / Facebook

All the same, Swoboda remains a bit of an outsider, not fully integrated in the herd. And while that is a cause for concern, if she can survive the winter, not getting too close to her shaggy friends could be a blessing in disguise. What if a big male bison were to take a fancy to her? End result – a hybrid calf. Diluting the bison genes would threaten the survival of the bison population, as of now standing at a precarious 520. What the herd needs is healthy bison babies with 100% bison genes.

And worse for Swoboda, a half-bison calf would likely be too big for her to carry and safely deliver. It could endanger her life.

All in all, come Spring someone may have to guide Swoboda back to the safety of confinement with her own kind. (Temporary safety. Safe that is, until humans are done with her.)

Meanwhile, stay close to your woolly friends Swoboda, and keep on relishing that sweet taste of freedom!

Update 7th February 2018 Swoboda is not the only cow who wants to be free.  Hermien too. Heroic cow escapes trip to slaughterhouse, hides in Dutch forest for weeks. And there is definitely going to be a happy ending for this brave lass


Source: Domestic cow runs away, spending the winter with Wild Bison

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12 thoughts on “The Runaway Cow Wild Wintering With Bison

  1. A wonderful story, one you want to to continue: A cow escaping to spend the winter off in a forest with a herd of friendly bison, where she is thriving.

    You wish time could stand still.

    Sadly, the winter will end and the options are risky. She could have a pregnancy that ends in death. She could have a fatal encounter with the wolves. She could be returned to the farm and an eventual trip to slaughter.

    In the meantime, as an animal, she can live in the moment and not have to ponder the future and her fate.

    I’m delighted she has had her winter of freedom. I hope her future holds an unexpected and happy alternative.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, she is a person. We can indicate that in the language with pronouns “she” and “he” instead of “it.” I wish we had a nonspeciesist term for “animal person.”

      Every day I wish humanity would follow the wisdom of Father Zosima, a character in Dostoevsky’s “Brothers Karamozov. This was his advice as he was approaching the end of his life: “Love the animals: God gave them the rudiments of thought and an untroubled joy. Do not trouble it, do not torment them, do not take their joy from them, do not go against God’s purpose. Man, do not exalt yourself above the animals: they are sinless, and you, you with your grandeur, fester the earth with your appearance on it, and leave your festering trace behind you–alas, almost every one of us does.”

      I wish modern church leaders had the wisdom of Zosima to teach.

      Maybe more people would understand a cow’s seeking peace with a herd of bison.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Hopefully she has adapted and learned survival skills from the Bisons..Cows & Bisons are not that far in Family tree…however, if a small group of animal advocates can monitor her safety, that would be a plus.

    Liked by 3 people

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