1. Headline
  1. Headline

Video: Runaway cow on the lam 

By
NBC News
updated 8/15/2011 10:40:21 AM ET 2011-08-15T14:40:21

Holy cow! It must be a slow news month in Germany if a runaway animal makes the front page of a top selling German newspaper.

  1. Stories from
    1. Minnie Driver Travels to Southeast Asia to Help Fight Poverty
    2. Summer Slim-Down Special: How 5 Readers Lost 100 Lbs. or More!
    3. Bindi Irwin Is 'Feeling So Good' After Getting Learner's Permit on 16th Birthday
    4. Bill Murray Surprises Host of 'Bill Murray Ice Cream Social' By Actually Showing Up
    5. Nicki Minaj Gets Low, Bares Butt in NSFW Album Art

Bovine Yvonne has been keeping animal lovers in Bavaria in a tizzy after she broke through an electric fence on May 24 and has been hiding in a nearby forest ever since.

On Saturday, German tabloid BILD splashed the headline "Save Cow Yvonne" on its cover, set up a Facebook page and posted a $14,000 reward for anyone who can help lead to the cow's capture. Let the cow hunt begin!

Story: Maltese dog missing for year after car crash is headed home

But it may take more than a social media campaign to capture Yvonne. She supposedly has help: Yvonne has been spotted with a herd of deer in the thick southern German woodlands.

"Day and night, we have up to seven people on the search for the cow," said Michael Aufhauser, the founder of Gut Aiderbichl, an animal sanctuary and rescue facility that has taken the lead in the rescue efforts and will board the cow if it's found. "We are even using an infrared camera, two four-wheel drive Jeeps and a quad bike, but no luck so far."

Bild

All hands on deck
After local authorities initially issued a shoot-to-kill order, fearing that Yvonne would be a security risk and endanger drivers on a busy nearby road, Aufhauser and his team decided to buy "the cow in absentia" from the local farmer and deployed search dogs, experienced riders on horses and scores of volunteers for the hunt.

"The last time we spotted Yvonne was a week ago at 1 in the morning, but it was too dark to place a tranquilizer dart," Aufhauser said.

Story: Spin doctoring: Vets replace tortoise’s leg with wheel

There is even a Swiss "animal communicator" involved, an augur, who says she has been in contact with Yvonne via a subject from her home in Switzerland.

But, for the rescue team, the most promising approach is the hope for an awakening of family instincts.

  1. More on pets
    1. Festive felines: 11 cats in Christmas trees
    2. Boy, beaver wave to each other at zoo
    3. From blocks to stationery, 11 gift ideas for pets
    4. Most popular kitten names: Bella, Max and ... Kitty
    5. 24 fantastic animal photos

"At first, we brought in Waltraud, Yvonne's sister, and placed her at the edge of the woods," Aufhauser said. "Then I got lucky and found her own calf, Friesi, on a farm in Austria, a now full-size ox who had been believed to be dead."

And, this week, Yvonne's supporters are hoping to lure the cow from her forest hideout with the sex appeal of a handsome bull called Ernst. "He is the George Clooney among the former breeding bulls," Aufhauser said.

Several times, Yvonne has been spotted peeking through the trees at her family members under the cover of darkness, but she always managed to evade police, hunters and animal welfare activists.

Summer hole
Germany has had its share of crazy animal tales. Germany's so called "summer hole" stories have focused on "Caiman Sammy," a croc who was spotted in a popular quarry pond causing fear among sunbathers, and "Bruno the Bear," who scared hikers, killed sheep and eventually got shot in the summer of 2006.

This rainy German August started with flashy reports about a poisonous spider that supposedly crawled out of a banana box in a supermarket. The grocery store was shut down for weeks and the spider was never found. But the multi-legged arthropod was probably not cute enough to make front-page headlines.

Video: Baby gorilla saved from poachers

In times of gruesome economic news and reports of violent conflicts in the Middle East, Yvonne's funny escape plot truly has "story of the month" potential.

Sadly, time might be running out for Yvonne. Local authorities have suspended the shoot-to-kill order for only two weeks and banners have been spotted near the woods that read "Kill The Cow."

Fans and supporters across Germany still hope for a happy outcome so that Yvonne can end up at her designated Gut Aiderbichl retirement home instead of reaching the same cruel fate as "Bruno the Bear."

Even so, Bruno became a legend: his body was eventually stuffed and can now be viewed at a Munich museum.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

    Play nice: 4 ways to teach kindness and raise kids who aren't jerks

    7/24/2014 7:05:14 PM +00:00 2014-07-24T19:05:14
  1. Watch the full ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ trailer: What we couldn’t show on TV

    “Fifty Shades of Grey” fans, you’ve come to the right place. 

    7/24/2014 12:30:07 PM +00:00 2014-07-24T12:30:07
  2. video ‘Fifty Shades’ stars give first look at steamy film

    video Stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson offer TODAY viewers a sneak peek at the highly anticipated film. When Savannah Guthrie told Dornan that viewers had asked if he'd do the interview shirtless, he said, “I would have considered it.” 

    7/24/2014 5:22:44 PM +00:00 2014-07-24T17:22:44
  3. Not a date movie: Why ‘Fifty Shades’ a girls’ night hit

    Even though the film is opening on Valentine's Day — the biggest date night of the year — women are likely to turn the movie into a social event.

    7/24/2014 1:22:41 PM +00:00 2014-07-24T13:22:41
  4. Universal Pictures
  1. Air Algerie flight remains missing 

    After reports that the commercial jet that went missing on Thursday over western Africa had been found, French President Francois Hollande stated that “no trace of plane has been found yet." 

    7/24/2014 2:47:05 PM +00:00 2014-07-24T14:47:05