Beaches in Corsica have been closed after unusually aggressive cows started goring tourists.
Corsica has roughly 15,000 cows that roam the island – about half of them are wild, while the other half belong to farmers who have grazing rights across the island. While it is normal for cows to take up residency on some of the island’s beaches every summer, this year the bovine horde has become unusually headstrong after all those months of lockdown. So much so that they are now objecting to having human neighbors and are actually going for tourists – to the dismay of local mayors who say they have no power to stop them.
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The Times of London reports that one man was sent to hospital after being gored in the neck on a beach in Lotu, while another herd of cows chased tourists down a popular street. In the mountain village of Lozzi, a 70-year-old woman was flown to hospital with a “severe leg wound” after being attacked be a cow while hanging out her laundry.
“The lady was wounded two centimeters from the femoral artery,” the town’s mayor told local newspaper Corse. “If this goes on, there will be deaths.”
Near Ajaccio in Southern Corsica beaches were closed after crowds of cattle damaged cars, private property and rampaged through picnics.
“Tourists laugh at this as folklore and take pictures, but it’s a real pest,” a local councilor told The Times. One animal rescue official warned: “When you see that [the cows] are heading in a particular direction, it is best to give them priority.”
Ange-Pierre Vivoni, president of the association of mayors of Haute-Corse, the island’s northern region, said that “it’s a problem that is enduring and getting worse.” Just recently, the mayor of a southern village shot dead a cow after it gored a council employee.
The Local reports that in 2017 a female tourist was trying to take a holiday snap of the cows when one of them gored her in the face and she was taken to hospital. On Corsica beaches there are signs telling people that the cows are wild animals and they should not to get too close to them. But back then, the local authorities were looking for a longer-term solution, possibly involving castration or killing some animals – although that wouldn’t work for the entire island population.
According to Forbes, part of the problem might be related to a change in EU agricultural policy – recent subsidy changes favoring the ownership of cattle made many farmers buy some immediately. It could be a problem in the Alps and Pyrenees too, and officials are suggesting that tourists give these animals a wide berth, especially if there are calves around.