On the 21st of May, the cow, named ‘Vilde' (Wild), became frightened and swam into the Vestvannet lake in Østfold county, reports VG.
She returned to her owner on Sunday – after a disappearance lasting nearly three months.
The cow thus returned from an entire summer spent alone in the forest, probably on one of the lake's islands.
“She looks a bit tired and worse for wear, but there's no cause for concern,” said cattle manager Gunhild Dangstorp of Kalnes School of Agriculture near Sarpsborg, which owns the wayward heifer.
She was given the named ‘Wild' after her reintegration to the herd, writes VG.
The animal is thought to have fled into the lake in panic after being scared by vandals, with fence posts surrounding the cows' grazing area found pulled up.
“The animals were very scared and a lot of them were standing on the outside of the fence. [Vilde] jumped into the Vestvannet and started swimming. She made it over to an island,” Dangstorp told VG.
Employees of the school set out to retrieve Vilde by boat, and initially succeeded in bringing her out of the water, but she became so scared she eventually swam further away and sight of her was lost, the cattle manager said.
After number of searches, the animal was eventually presumed to have drowned.
“But three weeks ago we received a message from a neighbour, asking whether we were missing a cow,” Dangstorp continued.
Even this was not enough to see the adventurous animal return home, as she proved impossible to catch and ran back into the forest.
Finally, Vilde gave up her lonely existence and was brought into a neighbour's barn as her instincts led her to search out the company of other cows.
She will now be allowed to recover from her extended journey – mostly inside her barn and just outside it.
The Kalnes school owns 200 cows along with horses and pigs, writes VG.
“We've never had an animal disappear for so long before and then show up again,” Dangstorp said.
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