Meet the Cow Who Ran Away from the Farm to Join a Herd of Wild Bison

So, a wandering, listless cow decides to go off on her own and join a traveling troop of nomadic bison. It may sound like the setup to a joke, but this very scenario actually revealed itself to be true in Eastern Poland last winter when a Limousin-breed cow abandoned her herd for a much more unconventional lifestyle in the snowy flatlands of Eastern Europe.

How exotic!

But, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, here. There are some details that you should know about this cow’s highly-unusual walkabout to put this all into perspective, the number one–and perhaps most obvious one–being that cows usually don’t get along too well with bison, and vice-versa. As a matter of fact, the scientists who discovered and are studying this phenomenon are highly amazed that a) a cow would choose to live with a herd of bison and b) that a herd of bison would actually accept this fully-grown bovine hitchhiker.

When ornithologist, Adam Zbyryt, first came across this odd herd-mate while researching the area, he immediately took a shot of her amongst her newly-adopted family. From there, the photo spread like wildfire, and it was later confirmed that the very cow had been missing from her family farm months prior. Soon after the revelation, naturalists in the area sprung into action, doing everything they could to learn more about this odd occurrence. 

Bison expert Rafal Kowalczyk at the Mammal Research Institute at the Polish Academy of Sciences spotted the cow with the herd of bison with his own two eyes, and it was an event that he could only describe as being “exceptional.” That said, the expert does have his concerns about her long-term survival potential. 

You see, while the Limousin-breed of cows is a hearty one built for harsh weather, most Polish winters get so cold that these animals require time indoors for survival. Apparently, last winter was unseasonably warm in the Bialowieza Forest, an important factor that could have helped the bovine in her journey into the wild. 

On the other hand, Kowalczyk is also worried about the survival of the bison because, when the adolescent cow gets old enough to mate, she could become pregnant with a hybrid cow-bison, an animal which could dilute the gene pool–and that is IF the cow and calf actually survive the birth.

But, sad facts aside, our only reaction to this story is “unlikely animal friends for the win!” While we’re well aware that this interspecies fairy tale may not last forever, we are still very much tickled by the fact that the cow made this very decision in the first place. Talk about a farm animal who is living her best life and experiencing the great, big world (er, Eastern Poland), while she’s at it!

To get the full story on this intrepid Limousin-breed cow and to see the unconventional herd in action, be sure to watch the video below. We hope this wandering cow continues to live her dreams, far away from the farm.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this puzzling story out of Poland. Are you a fan of this wandering cow? Have you ever seen a farm animal join a completely different herd? What is your all-time favorite example of “unlikely animal friends?”