Cow runs away from farm, joins herd of wild bison

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |  Jan. 25, 2018 at 2:15 PM
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Jan. 25 (UPI) -- A domesticated cow that ran away from its farm in Poland last fall surprised researchers by taking up with a herd of bison for several months.

Biologist Rafal Kowalczyk said he spotted the Limousin cow, a French breed popular in Poland, this week with a 50-strong bison herd in the Bialowieza Forest, three months after the smaller bovine ran away from a farm and was first spotted socializing with the wild animals.

"She is not very integrated with the group, as bison act like one organism and she stands out," Kowalczyk told TVN24.

He said the bison herd don't seem to mind the cow's presence, however, and are likely responsible for keeping the smaller animal safe from wolves.

Kowalczyk said he is concerned the cow could breed with the bison and contaminate their gene pool with hybrids.

"Another danger is that hybrid calves are large, and the cow could die giving birth," he said.

Adam Zbyryt was the first to spot the cow with the bison herd in November. He posted photos from the encounter to Facebook.

"It's not unusual to see bison near the Bialowieza Forest, but one animal caught my eye. It was a completely different light-brown shade from the rest of the herd. Bison are chestnut or dark brown," he said at the time.

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