Back in May, Yvonne navigated her way past electrified fencing in the pasture where she was grazing and headed for the woods near her small Bavarian commune of Zangberg. Her “escape” captured media attention across Germany, as she became a symbol for the freedom and dignity of animals everywhere, though particularly cows, which are often seen as being nothing more than a source of meat and milk. She survived a shoot-to-kill order, and efforts to tranquillize and return Yvonne to the farm were suspended due to the stress that the chase had put on her. In total, she spent some three months at large. Yvonne was finally spotted by a farmer in a meadow near Stefanskirchen; his find won him a €10,000 ($14,500) reward provided by the tabloid Bild.
LIST: Top 10 Animal Stories of 2011