This runaway cow is so elusive, they're calling her 'ghost in the darkness' – Mother Nature Network

You may not imagine cows as being particularly slippery. While these giant, plodding animals certainly possess a lot of surprising qualities, elusiveness has never been one of them.

But there’s a cow in Alaska — somewhere in the state, of that we’re fairly certain — who would beg to differ.

That would be Betsy, a true bovine miracle.

Six months ago, the 3-year-old decided to quit the rodeo, a job that required her to be featured at kids’ events around the state.

When someone left a gate unlocked, Betsy ghosted from her Anchorage pen.

A black cow running.
Betsy isn’t the first cow to try to make a go of things in the wild. (Photo: Stephen P Baker/Shutterstock)

And, like the savviest of fugitives, she made for a place that would make tracking her the most challenging: the 4,000 acres of rugged anonymity known as Far North Bicentennial Park.

“She got right to where she needed to be and it was, ‘Whew!’,” Frank Koloski tells MNN. “We spent countless hours days and nights trying to round her up.”

The sprawling park, nestled up against Anchorage, couldn’t be a better space for people — or animals who weigh more than 600 pounds — to disappear.

“The amount of grass and foliage that is available to her with the enormous amounts of open water that is still out there, it’s making it really difficult,” Koloski explains.

And despite glimpses of the animal reported on social media by local hikers and skiers, all the traps and technologies and come-hithers in the world have failed to bring her back to the rodeo.

“I get the late-night phone calls from APD — our police department — if somebody happened to see her pop her head out road side,” Koloski says.

“By the time I get there — I don’t live far away — I’ll see her tracks. I’ll walk the tracks for a little bit and she’s disappeared. She’ll blend right in with the spruce trees.”

Betsy wouldn’t be the first of her kind to go fugitive. A cow in Poland made headlines last year when she was spotted, days after escaping from a farm, running with a herd of wild bison in Bialowieza Forest. Another Polish cow managed to capture the hearts of the entire country when she swam across a lake in a bold bid for freedom. Sadly, that cow’s life was no bovine comedy — she died when a veterinary team finally managed to sedate her.

Some cows just won’t let themselves be taken alive.

But Betsy’s old home isn’t all that shabby. It’s a sprawling stretch of land where the animal, a cross between an Angus and a Scottish highlander, roams happily with her own herd.

Betsy, with her extra-thick coat of hair, doesn’t seem to mind the winter weather either.

“Cattle are very very adapting to being outside and surviving,” Koloski says. “They can acclimate to really any weather.

“The herd that she comes from — they’re already back in the pasture.”

In a way, she may even be taunting her pursuers.

Aside from her exasperated owner, who calls her his “ghost in the darkness,” she has baffled dogs, drones, search teams, as well as the local cycling community.

Indeed, Betsy is even teaching law enforcement a few new tricks.

SWAT team leader Mark Huelskoetter says the cow has become a useful training tool for a team that doesn’t get a lot of real-life action.

“It’s a good training opportunity for our guys, since we’re going to be training anyway, to maybe get something good out of this — find this dude’s cow,” Huelskoetter told the Anchorage Daily News.

But still, all the blips on the drone’s aerial surveillance map have come to nothing. And the drones have returned to their hangars, likely for good.

A Scottish highlander in the forest
Thanks to the breed’s thick coat. a Scottish highlander like Betsy is unlikely to be bothered by the cold. (Photo:

If there’s a message Betsy might be sending to her former owner, it’s this: She’s done with the rodeo.

And for his part, Koloski seems to have gotten the memo, admitting that this cow just may not want to come home at all.

Indeed, he’s seen a lot of comments from people who have spotted her suggesting the cow is “definitely not starving.” And just maybe, this is the life Betsy wants for herself.

“I truly feel that,” he says. “I can’t, by no means, attempt to read a cow’s mind, but clearly if any animal is content, which it’s obvious from everybody that has seen her …”

“I don’t want to surrender. I may have no choice.”

This runaway cow is so elusive, they're calling her 'ghost in the darkness'

After bolting from the rodeo, an Alaskan cow named Betsy has evaded drones, search parties and even a SWAT team.

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Cow on the lam: rodeo cow loose in Anchorage, Alaska for 6 months –

A rodeo cow named Betsy has evaded capture for six months as she wanders the trails of Alaska's biggest city, the cow's owner said.  

The 3-year-old cow "busted out" of a pen before participating in junior events at the Father's Day Rodeo in Anchorage, rodeo promoter Frank Koloski told the Anchorage Daily News.

Betsy headed to the Hilltop Ski Area and was spotted grazing on slopes during the summer, Koloski said. She then moved to the network of trails that crisscross the Anchorage Hillside when snow fell. Trail users began spotting her in the fall, posting about their sightings on social media and giving Betsy near-celebrity status.

With a rotating crew of others, Koloski said he has spent "hours, days probably" searching for the cow. Anchorage police, animal control authorities and the Bureau of Land Management have relayed information about the cow's whereabouts, but she continues to elude him.

"We're out days. It's nights. It's weekends," Koloski said. "If we get a nice night with a full moon, we go out as a group.

"The forests just outside the city still have plenty of grass in tree wells where the snow hasn't touched, Koloski said. Betsy also has access to fresh water sources.

"This cow comes from an area where she's been very self-sufficient," Koloski said. People have tried to lure the cow with food, but that's not a good idea, he said.

"I know deep down this cow doesn't want to be caught," Koloski said.

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Rajasthan govt to felicitate those adopting stray cows – Economic Times

The Congress-led Rajasthan government has decided to honour those who adopt stray cows on Independence day and Republic day.

The Directorate of Gopalan has issued a letter to all district collectors asking them to motivate donors, NGOs, social workers and cow lovers to adopt stray cows and felicitate them on August 15 and January 26.

The Directorate of Gopalan of the state government works for cattle conservation, research and development.

“The idea behind the step is to conserve cows with cooperation from people. Those who adopt stray cows and undertake welfare activities will be felicitated by district collectors on the occasion of Independence day and Republic day,” Vishram Meena, director, Gopalan directorate, said.

“The directorate issued a letter to all district collectors on December 28 with details of the campaign for the conservation of stray cows. There are people who adopt stray animals in cow shelter homes. They celebrate their birthdays, wedding anniversaries and such occasions by spending time with their adopted cows. We have asked the collectors to push such initiatives,” he said.

Meena said the interested parties can give their proposal to the respective district collectors.

After verification of the claims, the collectors will felicitate such people with a certificate at the district level, he said.

The order also mentions that whoever wants to adopt cows can deposit the amount decided by the local cow shelter and can visit the cows anytime.

Those who want to keep the stray cows at their houses can also do so, it added.

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It's a 'sin' to seek votes in name of cows: Arvind Kejriwal – Economic Times

It is a “sin” to seek votes in the name of cows, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday even as he accused the BJP-led Haryana government of not allocating sufficient funds for cattle fodder. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief visited a cow shelter in Sonipat’s village Saidpur.

“It is wrong to seek votes and play politics in the name of cows which is currently happening in the country,” Kejriwal said, addressing a gathering in the village.

“I feel, maybe I am wrong, that it is a sin to seek votes in the name of cows,” he said.

He claimed the Delhi government was running the “country’s best” cow shelter in Bawana.

“Nobody knows that the country’s best cow shelter is being run by the Delhi government,” he said.

He accused the BJP-led Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) of not releasing funds for cow fodder.

“In Delhi, the MCD is supposed to contribute Rs 20 and the Delhi government is supposed to contribute Rs 5 for cow (fodder) per day. But Delhi government raised it to Rs 20 from Rs 5 so that Rs 40 could be contributed per cow per day,” Kejriwal said.

“Now, the Delhi government is giving Rs 20 per cow per day but the BJP-led MCD has not released funds for the last three years,” he claimed.

Kejriwal also accused Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar-led Haryana government of not paying enough for cow fodder.

“I have come to know that the Haryana government releases Rs 140 per cow per year. It works out to be around 40 paise for a cow per day,” he said.

“I want to say that if you seek votes in the name of cows, then you should also pay enough for their fodder,” he said.

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Vet on call: Understanding milk fever in cows – Daily Nation

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As long as farmers keep dairy cattle and continuously strive for higher yields, they will at one time or another encounter cases of milk fever.

I explained the disease in Seeds of Gold of January 14, 2017. However, this week, I met two farmers in a function and they said they thought there was an outbreak of milk fever in their village in Murang’a.

They have seen a number of dairy cows go down after calving. Some recover after treatment but some do not.

One of the farmers was concerned that his cow was said to have had both milk fever and nerve damage. Another was diagnosed with nerve damage after a difficult calving. He wondered when to diagnose nerve damage or milk fever.

At the same time, I have been treating a difficult case of milk fever in Thika during the week. The high-yielding pure Friesian cow was initially treated by my colleague after an easy twin calving.

The cow had responded well to treatment but the doctor noted it had consumed 800ml of 40 per cent calcium solution intravenously and 400ml under the skin.

That was a larger than usual dose. Soon after the infusion of the medicine, the cow had coughed, brightened up and stood up on her own and immediately started eating.

My colleague, Dr Mwikali, had also noted the case presented unusually because the cow was eating while lying down but the eyes were dull.

The nose was dry and the rumen and heart movements were weak. That led her to diagnose milk fever, but not showing the typical signs of groaning and placing the head on the side against the chest.

Most diseases present in a prescribed manner based on the documented most observed signs. This is medically termed the classical presentation.

Some diseases may, for some known or unknown reason, show only a handful of signs thereby prompting the doctor to diligently look for indicators of other diseases before concluding that the disease is showing an incomplete picture. This type of presentation is called atypical.

The milk fever case I have been treating this week was truly atypical. I was called three days after the initial treatment and informed the cow had again gone down, was eating and ruminating but would not stand, even with human assistance.

Upon examining the animal, I returned the same findings as Dr Mwikali. I, however, noted the muzzle was semi-dry.


The muzzle of a normal cow is always very wet. Normally, animals treated for milk fever will respond and rarely show the disease again in the current lactation.

Furthermore, this cow was being given a calcium salt in the feed since the last treatment. She should not have been struggling with milk fever again.

This being an unusual case, I collected blood samples for laboratory analysis before commencing treatment. I proceeded to give calcium solution intravenously into the jugular vein.

After infusing each 200ml of the solution, I would check the heart and rumen movements to gauge the response to treatment to avoid overdosing since the cow’s situation was not the typical milk fever. I would also monitor the wetting of the muzzle and the status of the eyes.

After infusing 800ml of the solution, the cow’s muzzle became fully wet, the heart beat strongly and the rumen sounds became loud and strong.

The cow also shook its head and was able to leak its nostrils. It voided a lot of dung and urine — signs that the nerves and muscles were communicating well again.

The cow attempted to stand but would only get halfway up before going down again. I attributed that to lying-down fatigue and the fact that the nerves and heavy muscles of skeletal support may not have got fully activated.

I gave another 400ml of calcium solution to the cow under the skin so that the mineral could be absorbed slowly into the blood, according to the body’s requirements.

I instructed the farm manager to keep urging the cow to stand in periods of 10 to 20 minutes over the next two hours and report progress.

I also told him to reduce the calcium salt in feed to about 50 grammes daily to avoid overload.

He told me the cow had stood about an hour after I left. Analysis of the blood showed the cow had minimal calcium levels, high sodium and low magnesium.

Other minerals lay within the normal range. The variation in calcium, sodium and magnesium levels could have caused the atypical presentation observed in the case.

Animal health service providers should treat all cases of milk fever according to the signs observed and only take blood samples for analysis in the few cases that show unusual signs and response to treatment.

For the farmers who thought their area had an outbreak of milk fever, my advice was that milk fever really does not occur in outbreaks.


It is more of an individual cow problem and the disease is not an absolute lack of calcium in the body but the inability of the animal to manage and keep the balance of the blood calcium and the calcium in the bones. Medically, this is called calcium homeostasis.

Under normal circumstances, the body has a mechanism that collects excess calcium in the blood and stores it in the bones.

When calcium levels lower in the blood because of increased demand like during pregnancy and heavy milking, the body releases calcium from the bones and returns it to the blood. In the meantime, the body also keeps absorbing calcium from the feed eaten and gets it into the blood.

Milk fever occurs when the feed does not have enough calcium or the body is not able to release enough of it into the blood from the bones. It is not well-known why the switching mechanism fails.

However, the failure is associated with inadequate intake of calcium, excessive uptake of calcium and a heavy demand for calcium for foetal bone formation or milk production.

It is also thought some family lines may contain genes that make it easier for animals in such families to get milk fever attacks.

To avoid milk fever, farmers should feed their pregnant and early lactation cows dairy mineral salts of high quality and follow the manufacturers’ instructions on the recommended daily intake per cow in the various stages of production.

I have seen farmers feeding dicalcium phosphate excessively during pregnancy and they end up with milk fever before or after calving.

Dicalcium phosphate should only be given under the instructions of a veterinary doctor since it is more of a medication rather than a balanced dairy salt.

It is possible for a cow to go down because of both nerve damage and milk fever. A cow with milk fever can also damage its leg and hip nerves and muscles while attempting to stand. This happens mainly when the muscle paralysis is incomplete and the cow ends up spraying the legs.

A cow that is not getting up should be kept under shade to rest until the doctor arrives to make a diagnosis and give treatment.

Animals with nerve damage alone will look normal except loss of feeling in the hind legs. This mainly occurs when cows had difficult calving.

They fail to stand after the calving while milk fever cows will normally stand and then go down later.

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Astronomers still can't decipher the 'Cow', a mysterious explosion in deep space – Science Magazine

AT2018cow, the right-hand of two bright spots down and right of the galactic center, is confounding astronomers.


SEATTLE, WASHINGTON–An unusually bright glow in the sky that appeared suddenly last June has got astronomers in a frenzy. After months of study, they still aren’t sure what the object—officially called  AT2018cow, but universally referred to as the ‘Cow”–is. But scientists have some ideas, which they offered here today at the American Astronomical Society meeting. Whatever it is, says astronomer Liliana Rivera Sandoval of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, “it’s super weird.”

The Cow first appeared in telescope observations on 16 June, in what turned out to be a small galaxy about 200 million light years away. It was very bright and hadn’t been there the day before. That rapid appearance seemed to rule out a supernova, because such stellar explosions usually grow in brightness more slowly. “When we saw that we thought, let’s get on this,” says Dan Perley, an astronomer at Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom.

Astronomers initially assumed that the Cow was a much more nearby event, likely in our galaxy, and less cataclysmic than a supernova. One possibility was a white dwarf—the burnt out remnant of a star–consuming material from a companion star, and sporadically flaring up in the process. Such events are common in the Milky Way. But analysis of AT2018cow’s light spectrum soon showed that the object was too far away, in another galaxy—a flaring white dwarf would never be visible at that distance.  

Perley is one of the leaders of a global network of fast-reacting telescopes called GROWTH, and several of its instruments soon zoomed in on the Cow. These included the Liverpool Telescope on La Palma, the Canary Islands, and the Palomar Observatory in California. “We dropped everything in the first two weeks, observing it seven times a night,” he says.

The early observations confirmed that The Cow was truly strange. It didn’t show the telltale changes in its light output that a supernova would make, and it continued to grow in brightness and stayed bright and hot for nearly three weeks. “These are things supernovae don’t usually do,” Perley says.

“It’s super weird.”

Liliana Rivera Sandoval, Texas Tech University

Sandoval says as soon as she and colleagues knew AT2018cow was truly distant, they requested time on NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory to see what the Cow was doing in ultraviolet light and x-rays. The observations from the orbiting spacecraft revealed that the object was very bright in both those parts of the spectrum. Although the x-ray brightness fluctuated over the early weeks, “the spectrum didn’t change, there was no evolution there, which is very unusual,” she notes. After three weeks, the x-ray signal began fluctuating more wildly while also dropping off in brightness.

Many astronomers agree that the long and steady duration of the event means that it was powered after an initial blast by some form of central engine. But what that engine may be is also far from clear. Some argue that it could be a very unusual supernova whose core has collapsed inward after the star exploded. Others say it is a tidal disruption event—a star being ripped apart by a black hole. But that usually requires the supermassive black hole in the center of a galaxy, and the Cow is situated in its galaxy’s spiral arm. So, some say, it could be a tidal disruption event spawned by an intermediate mass black hole, although evidence for the existence of such smaller black holes remains controversial. “All explanations have problems,” says Sandoval.

Four days after the Cow’s discovery, Anna Ho of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena jumped into action  with the Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Millimeter waves, at the short end of the radio spectrum, aren’t usually used to observe such exploding objects because the signal tends to die off so fast that telescopes can’t catch it. The Cow was different. “After several days it was still bright,” says Ho. “This is the first time we’ve ever seen [such a source] while it is brightening.”

Just as at other wavelengths, the Cow’s submillimeter signal remained high and steady for several weeks, then began to tail off. Ho believes this signal shows the shockwave from whatever it was that originally exploded hitting a dense, surrounding cloud of gas and dust. When that happens, the cloud heats up and the gases emit light at various wavelengths. In this case, the emission continued as the shock wave travelled outwards through the cloud. The sudden drop-off in the submillimeter signal with time likely marked the shock reaching the outer limits of the gas cloud.

If astronomers find other such sources in the future, she says, studying the shockwave in this way would give them valuable data about size, velocity, and total energy of the shock, as well as the structure of the environment around the star. “This tells us about what the star was doing before the explosion,” says astronomer Bob Kirshner of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in Palo Alto, California.

As so often happens, what researchers need is more data. “I hope there are more Cows,” Sandoval says.

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Delhi planning to club old age home with cow shelter – Heard of a cow shelter with old age home? – Economic Times

Updated: 10 Jan 2019, 02:07 PM IST

Heard of a cow shelter with old age home?

Heard of a cow shelter with old age home?

In a unique initiative, the Delhi government is planning to club a cow shelter with old age home, as it introduced city’s first Animal Health and Welfare Policy.

Delhi Minister of Animal Husbandry Gopal Rai said the animals and humans have been interdependent.

In pic: In this file photo, an elderly man sits in the sun during a cold winter morning in the old quarters of New Delhi.



Unique initiative

Unique initiative

“It is common that people keep a cow only till it gives milk and throws it out when it is of no use. A similar thing happens with humans. With age, when humans are not of any use, they are forced out of their homes.

“We are planning a unique coexistence programme where elderly will be allowed to stay with cows,” he said.

In pic: A man feeds a cow with bread on a street in New Delhi.



​Spending time with animals

​Spending time with animals

The Delhi government currently has five cow shelters of which only four are working. The one at Ghumanhera was shut in July last year after irregularities were found.

The government is planning to revamp the Ghumanhera cow shelter. It will turn out to be the most advanced one in the country.

“We will start a joint venture of cow shelter and old age home so that the old people can spend and interact with the animals just like in the village culture.”

In pic: In this file photo, a cow lays on a street as a labourer washes clothes in New Delhi.



​Routine surveillance

​Routine surveillance

It has been suggested in the policy that the Animal Husbandry unit of the Development Department should be named as Department of Animal Health and Welfare.

The policy will ensure the city is free from rabies and other such diseases.

Routine surveillance and risk assessment will be taken up on a regular basis to prevent diseases like rabies, brucellosis (an infection that spreads from animals to people, mostly by unpasteurised dairy products), japanese encephalitis and to reduces suffering and mortality.

In pic: Puppies living on the street snuggle under a sign advertising repair work services at a market in New Delhi.



​Secure place for animals

​Secure place for animals

The awareness and people sensitization were also included in the policy with a plan for media campaign on various platforms to sensitize the public about animal welfare and awareness programmes in schools.

The policy has proposed animal shelters and infirmaries for the abandoned/ stray animals, which will provide a secure place for animals to spend their life with care and dignity.

In pic: Cows gather together at the ‘Sri Krishna’ cow shelter in Bawana, a suburb of New Delhi.



​Health infrastructure for animals

​Health infrastructure for animals

Each district will have a minimum of 2 animal shelters and infirmaries.

It also plans to strengthen the health infrastructure for animals through 24×7 operational veterinary hospitals, polyclinics, aviaries and a helpline for distressed animal and birds.

In pic: A baby macaque clings to its mother on the roof of a parked car in New Delhi.



​​Electronic chips to be used

​​Electronic chips to be used

A veterinary hospital, proposed under the policy, will be inaugurated at Tis Hazari on January 16.

The policy suggests tagging pets and cattle with electronic chips so that the owners could be identified.

In pic: Cows walk past smoke rising from a garbage dump at the Bhalswa landfill site in New Delhi.



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Longer Lactations Could Improve Cow Fertility – Dairy Herd Management

For decades, a 12-month calving interval has been economically considered the most cost-effective breeding pattern to use on a dairy. However, the remarkable increase in milk yield per cow over the years has also been accompanied by a decrease in reproductive efficiency, making a 12-month calving interval difficult to achieve.

A recent study published in the January issue of the Journal of Dairy Science examined the effects of extending the lactation period on various reproductive measurements of high-yielding cows.

Placed into three groups, cows were given a voluntary waiting period (VWP) of either 40, 120 or 180 days before being bred. Cows in both the extended lactation groups experienced greater overall first service conception rates along with a lower number of services per pregnant cow compared to animals who had a VWP of 40 days.

Scientists suggest that an increase of the VWP in high-producing cows corresponds to a higher health status. By extending the VWP, the negative energy balance commonly experienced during early lactation, which has detrimental effects on fertility, is lowered. Additionally, drying off a pregnant animal during high milk production is avoided. The authors also reported that the replacement of many short lactations with fewer, longer ones could improve the overall longevity of the herd.

In conclusion, extending the lactation period of high-yielding cows can improve main reproductive measurements, such as fertility. It was determined that this criterion could be used to adjust breeding strategies on the farm to generate higher conception rates while also reducing the expenditures budgeted towards breeding.

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