Hiker Killed By Cow In French Pyrenees

pablofausto, Flickr

Backpacking in Yellowstone? Be aware of grizzlies.

Vacationing in Florida? Look out for pit vipers.

Exploring the Australian Outback? Know your venomous spiders.

Hiking in the Pyrenees? Stay away from cows. That’s the lesson learned recently after an 85-year-old hiker tragically died in the French Pyrenees after being charged by a herd of cows. The man was neither gored nor trampled, but was knocked to the ground by a cow and her calf, resulting in his death. Four other hikers were injured in the attack.

Many hiking areas around Europe are often near agricultural lands, and walking close to livestock is a common occurrence, but the accident is a reminder that even though cattle are a domesticated animal, they are not to be provoked and passing near them should be done with care.

As is proved by cow fighting in Switzerland, cows are far from a calm animal, especially if they are with their young which they will aggressively work to protect, and locals are known to complain about travelers who provoke their herds, treating them like pets.

Moral of the story: keep your distance from cow herds when exploring the rural landscapes of Europe.