Walk on the wild side: young boar joins herd of cat­tle

Do­mes­tic an­i­mals turn wild, and vice versa, while oth­ers es­cape and go walk­a­bout...

Fortean Times - - Contents -


A cow ran away from a Pol­ish farm in late Oc­to­ber to spend the win­ter liv­ing with a herd of some 50 wild bi­son in a primæ­val for­est on the Be­laru­sian bor­der, de­spite the tem­per­a­tures drop­ping to 14˚F (mi­nus 10˚C).

Or­nithol­o­gist Adam Zbyryt was the first to spot the cow in Novem­ber, keep­ing strange com­pany. “It’s not un­usual to see bi­son near the Bialowieza For­est, but one an­i­mal caught my eye,” he said. “It was a com­pletely dif­fer­ent light­brown shade from the rest of the herd. Bi­son are chest­nut or dark brown”. He dropped his ini­tial idea that this was a mu­ta­tion when he trained his binoc­u­lars on the crea­ture, and saw that it was Li­mousin cow – a French breed pop­u­lar in Poland. Bi­ol­o­gist Rafal Kowal­czyk spot­ted the an­i­mal again in late Jan­uary, still ap­par­ently healthy and keep­ing pace with the herd. He said that the herd had prob­a­bly saved her from the wolves that prowl the edges of the for­est through the win­ter. Bi­son be­came ex­tinct in Europe in the early 20th cen­tury due to hunt­ing, and it was only in the Fifties that con­ser­va­tion pro­grammes be­gan to rein­tro­duce the con­ti­nent’s largest land an­i­mal back into its nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. BBC News, 24 Jan; D.Tele­graph, 26 Jan 2018.


If do­mes­tic an­i­mals can choose to re­turn to the wild, then it would seem, by the same to­ken, that a wild an­i­mal can opt for do­mes­ti­ca­tion. In De­cem­ber 2015 a wild boar be­came some­thing of a celebrity in Ger­many af­ter join­ing a herd of cows on a farm near Neumün­ster, Sch­leswigHol­stein. Doc­tor and farmer Dirk Reese watched the per­sis­tent porcine pre­tender – whom he chris­tened Ba­nana – in­vei­gle him­self into the herd of cat­tle. Two months later, the young boar seemed happy with his bovine com­pan­ions, while the cows ap­peared to ac­cept the new ad­di­tion to the herd. “He’s fully in­te­grated. It’s fas­ci­nat­ing,” said Mr Reese.

Lori Marino, of the Kim­mela Cen­ter for An­i­mal Ad­vo­cacy, ex­plained that pigs, both wild and do­mes­tic, are so­cially com­plex crea­tures with a need for stim­u­la­tion if they are to “blos­som”. It’s un­clear why Ba­nana left the for­est to seek out a new life – pos­si­bly he was an or­phan – but clearly the an­i­mal “latched on to whomever it could find,” she said. “Pigs are smart; this one knew what it was do­ing… It’s a cute lit­tle mis­take, but it also

shows how so­cially flex­i­ble these an­i­mals are. Ev­ery­one is get­ting some­thing out of the re­la­tion­ship.” Süd­deutsche Zeitung; www.th­e­lo­cal.de; news. na­tion­al­geo­graphic.com, 7 Dec 2015.


A don­key led more than a dozen sheep and goats on a stroll through a sub­ur­ban West Cov­ina neigh­bour­hood east of Los An­ge­les on 25 Jan­uary. The an­i­mals es­caped their own­ers’ prop­erty in neigh­bour­ing Valinda through an un­se­cured gate and were fi­nally cor­ralled with the help of the County Sher­iff’s Depart­ment. The owner was con­tacted and took the herd home. [AP] 26 Jan 2018.


Ros­alyn Ed­wards was work­ing in her kitchen on 25 Oc­to­ber 2017 when she heard strange noises. Turn­ing around, she was stunned to dis­cover her Bor­der col­lie puppy, Rocky, had led nine sheep in­doors. The seven-month-old sheep­dog-in-train­ing had ush­ered the woolly rab­ble into the Devon farm­house via the back door. “I thought it was funny at the time, but then there was quite a lot of wee, poo and mud ev­ery­where,” said Mrs Ed­wards, 40. “It took me a lit­tle while to clean it all up. My son and hus­band had gone out into the field, and the gate was left open. Rocky got them out and led them to the house. I was in the kitchen and heard a noise. I turned around and the sheep were just stand­ing there. I took the chil­dren into an­other room and then tried to guide the sheep out.” Even­tu­ally the flock was marched out via the front porch, leav­ing a trail of muck in their wake. Mrs Ed­wards added: “Rocky did look quite pleased with him­self, but he’s go­ing to need more train­ing. He brought a whole new mean­ing to ‘bring­ing the sheep home’.” D.Tele­graph, D.Mir­ror, 4 Nov 2017.


Paris Zoo­log­i­cal Park went into lock­down on 26 Jan­uary af­ter 52 ba­boons es­caped from their en­clo­sures. The an­i­mals got free around mid­day at the 36-acre park in the city’sVin­cennes woods. Most were rounded up, bout four were still at large a day later. D.Ex­press, 27 Jan 2018.


A mot­ley crew of sheep and goats fol­low their don­key leader through sub­ur­ban West Corv­ina.

The Li­mousin es­capee with her wild and woolly new friends.

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