The cow, named Yvonne, had been shipped from Austria to her new owner in Aschau, Bavaria on May 24, when she fought her way through an electrified fence and escaped into the woods.
It seemed she would never be seen again – until last week the cow made a big mistake: She ran onto a road and was nearly hit by a police car.
After that, officials decreed that she must be killed for the sake of citizens’ safety, according to the Express newspaper. Two hunters are now roaming the forests trying to track her down.
Animal rights activists are desperately trying to get to her before the hunters do.
Michael Aufhauser said he had bought Yvonne for €700 from her owner – who had planned to slaughter her anyway – and wants to take her to an animal reserve where she will be able to live out her days in peace.
Yvonne is smart enough to only make occasional, evening forays out of the forest to graze, leading those trying to find her to dub her, ‘the cow who wants to be a deer’.
“We underestimate the sense of the animals. This cow is smarter than a deer,” Aufhauser told Express.
“I’ve never experienced such a case before.”
He and a group of cow friends have bought Yvonne’s relatives from her original base in Austria – her sister called Waltraud and a calf – ‘little Waldi’ – and have brought them to the area to try to tempt Yvonne out of the woods.
Yvonne reportedly visited Waltraud under the cover of darkness on Thursday night – but disappeared into the woods again before her would-be rescuers could capture her.
After a few days of searching through the forest with up to 14 people in the rain, the cow friends are now also using high tech methods to try to track her down, deploying heat-sensitive cameras to try to find her. They have also brought in experts with tranquiliser guns to help in the hunt.
The race is on between the hunters and the cow-friends to find Yvonne first.
This is not the first time Bavarian authorities have issued a shoot-to-kill order on a roaming animal. In 2006, a bear called Bruno – initially welcome as the first brown bear on German soil in 170 years, was shot and killed after he killed several sheep in the state. His body was subsequently stuffed and can now be seen at a Munich museum.