Humans are not the only ones who have the tendency to rebel and experience something different. Even an animal can do it too, and a domesticated cow in Poland is proof.
The domesticated cow was first spotted hanging out with the wild herd near Bialowieza Forest in November. At that time, ornithologist Adam Zbyryt first spotted the cow, whose story easily made the headlines. In his interview with TVN24, Zbyryt said that a herd of bison is not an uncommon site in the forest. But somehow, one animal managed to stand out – she had a lighter color compared to the rest of the chestnut or dark-brown bison.
Zbyryt initially thought that the cow simply had a genetic mutation affecting its fur color. When he used his binoculars to investigate further, he was surprised to see that it was actually a cow – a female Limousin cow. It was presumed that the cow may have escaped her farm and joined the bison herd. Zbyryt was even more surprised to observe that the outsider was doing pretty well, which shows that the herd may have accepted her.
Just this week, the cow was spotted again and this time by biologist and bison expert Rafal Kowalczyk. By the looks of it, the cow was doing awesome, looking healthy, and able to keep up with the herd of bison. According to Kowalczyk, who also spoke to TVN24, it’s his first time to see a cow join a bison family. The biologist believed that the cow made it through winter safe from prowling wolves because of the protection from the wild bison. Also, Zbyryt told the Associated Press that the Limousin breed’s thick fur and the mild winter in eastern Poland helped the cow survive.
Many people consider the cow’s story as something heartwarming and as expected, her journey became viral on social media. Some people even look up to the cow, who defied her fate in the farm to chase freedom. Although it’s adorable to see the misfit being accepted by her new circle, her presence actually poses a concern, not only to herself but also the bison population.
European bison in the wild went extinct in 1919, according to National Geographic. But with successful breeding methods, their kind was reintroduced into the wild to restore their numbers. Still, the bison population is endangered and having a cow mate with one could contaminate the bison gene pool.
Also, the bison weighs 800 kilograms (or more than 1,75o pounds) and if mating with a cow becomes successful, their love child will be much bigger than a normal-sized cow calf. That said, the pregnancy and birth of a hybrid could kill the cow.
Scientists want to separate the cow from the bison herd by mating season to avoid a pregnancy. But according to Kowalczyk, who is also the director of the Mammal Research Institute at the Polish Academy of Sciences, the process won’t be easy. They are just hoping that the cow will return to her home in springtime. If she doesn’t, they’ll be forced to take her back themselves.