Cow attack: two hikers injured in central Switzerland

Cow attack: two hikers injured in central Switzerland
Cow attacks are rare but do happen, especially when herds contain calves. File photo: Depositphotos
Two young hikers were airlifted to hospital with moderate injuries after being knocked to the ground by a cow in the canton of Nidwalden last Saturday – the second such incident in the area in a month.

The hikers suffered bruises and shock in the incident involving a herd of cattle and their calves on the Bannalp in the commune of Wolfenschiessen said in a statement.

The walking track that the hikers were on has now been temporarily closed.

In addition, the herd of cows involved in the attack has been moved away from its high summer pasture and back down to the valley – a month earlier than planned.

Last Saturday’s incident is the second attack by cows on the Bannalp track in two months. In July, a dog was trampled to death and the animal’s owner was injured.

Dogs were subsequently banned on the walking track for the duration of the summer.

One local farmer told regional daily Luzerner Zeitung that the cause of the attacks lies in the difference between cattle and dairy cows.

“Cattle behave differently to milk cows. They are quicker to feel themselves under attack and to want to protect their calves, while they are also less used to humans because they are not milked,” explained Wendel Odermatt.

He said it often only required on aggressive animal to incite an attack. Herd instinct and the instinct to play also played a role, he added.

In the past, there had been less awareness of this problem because dairy cows dominated in pastures, he said.

Dangerous cows?

Hikers often encounter cattle and dairy cows on paths throughout the Swiss Alps. Attacks are rare but do occur, especially when the herd contains calves.

Hikers are advised to take care with such herds. For man information, read out article on how to protect yourself against cow attacks here.


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.