New Zealand cattle farmer Bryn Whyman was understandably concerned for the safety of his livestock when a light aircraft with only one pilot on board made an emergency landing in one of his fields recently.
The Wellington Dominion Post reports that Mr Whyman was sitting at his home in Te Horo, about 70 km northeast of Wellington, when ‘all of a sudden we saw a plane coming down’. As the plane landed, the beef cattle dashed out of the way.
The pilot decided on an emergency landing because of a shuddering engine. There were no reports of injuries to man or beast, but Mr Whyman said, ‘I got down there and [the pilot] was surrounded by about 30 cows, all licking the plane’.
The reason for this behaviour is unknown, but the CSIRO’s publication Cow Talk suggests that landing aircraft near livestock may not be the best option.
‘As a prey species, cattle have an inherent fear of unfamiliar objects, situations, smells, sudden movements and noises,’ Cow Talk says.
Ironically, according to a 1999 report in the Wellington Evening Post, the Te Horo area was once considered as an alternative site for Wellington Airport.
Hoofnote: It is not known if the landing induced faulty steer-ing.