In the picturesque Swiss village of Lauterbrunnen, the locals are worried. Dozens of alpine cows appear to be committing suicide by throwing themselves off a cliff near the small village in the Alps. In the space of just three days, 28 cows and bulls have mysteriously died after they plunged hundreds of metres to rocks below where they were killed instantly. In each case, local mountain rescue services using a helicopter had to be called in to remove the bodies because of the danger to the local groundwater of pollution.A police spokesman said: ‘There are no large carnivores living in the Alps anymore who would once have disposed of the bodies so they have to be moved. ‘We are investigating because cows growing up in the mountains normally can estimate dangers and do not plunge down cliffs.
According to local reports, there had been violent thunderstorms in the area which may well have spooked the animals. Cows wandering at high altitude are a common sight across much of the Alps, where farmers let them loose to graze on the green plateaus above the villages. Often carrying large bells around their necks, most are dairy cows as the mix of vegetation and grasses at that high altitude are particularly good for milk and for making cheese.
Cows do occasionally fall to their deaths in these Alpine regions although it is rare for so many to fall in one particular place.
There has been speculation in the past that when this does happen it is because a tightly-grouped number have followed each other as they search for more grass.