WHITE PARK CATTLE: Attacking

This month is mating season for White Park cattle, direct descendents of the wild cattle of Great Britain – and known for their ferocity. For 700 years the White Park have been kept by British nobility, and only since the 1930’s have herds been started in North America. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Mark Fields maintains one of three American herds of White Park Cattle. He tells us that unlike domesticated cattle, the White Park have retained many of the traits of their wild ancestors.

“When the mother goes to have her calf, she will find a very secluded spot and guard the calf ferociously. Should a calf become distressed and alert the herd that something is going on, the entire herd of White Park Cattle will take on the attacker. Be that a dog, a wild coyote or a person. They will run towards the object, then they will back off. They will run towards the object again and back off. Each time they come approximately five to ten foot closer. And the unwary person or dog quickly finds themselves in the unenviable position of being completely surrounded by the herd of cattle.”

The White Park Cattle have lyre-shaped horns which can be deadly if the animal is provoked. And that brings to mind a legend from the days when the White Park were hunted for sport.

“King Richard the Lionhearted was on a hunt when he shot a bull but did not fell it. It turned on the King and was in the process of goring him when a certain individual ran up, grabbed the bull by the horns and literally threw it to the ground. And that is the origin of the Turnbull family of nobility in England.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

WHITE PARK CATTLE: Attacking

White Park Cattle are well-known for their ferocity, just one of the wild traits these feral animals have kept.
Air Date:10/07/1997
Scientist:
Transcript:

This month is mating season for White Park cattle, direct descendents of the wild cattle of Great Britain - and known for their ferocity. For 700 years the White Park have been kept by British nobility, and only since the 1930's have herds been started in North America. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Mark Fields maintains one of three American herds of White Park Cattle. He tells us that unlike domesticated cattle, the White Park have retained many of the traits of their wild ancestors.

"When the mother goes to have her calf, she will find a very secluded spot and guard the calf ferociously. Should a calf become distressed and alert the herd that something is going on, the entire herd of White Park Cattle will take on the attacker. Be that a dog, a wild coyote or a person. They will run towards the object, then they will back off. They will run towards the object again and back off. Each time they come approximately five to ten foot closer. And the unwary person or dog quickly finds themselves in the unenviable position of being completely surrounded by the herd of cattle."

The White Park Cattle have lyre-shaped horns which can be deadly if the animal is provoked. And that brings to mind a legend from the days when the White Park were hunted for sport.

"King Richard the Lionhearted was on a hunt when he shot a bull but did not fell it. It turned on the King and was in the process of goring him when a certain individual ran up, grabbed the bull by the horns and literally threw it to the ground. And that is the origin of the Turnbull family of nobility in England."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History.