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WARNING: This article should not be read by those with a sensitive or nervous disposition. If you are such a person I suggest you change immediately to RISKKO’s dog blog where you will find lots of nice stories about cuddly animals and what they get up to in the Forest. The link is here.
This is probably the most exciting review of recent reports from the Alpine press that I have shared on my website (so far). In the past week there have been numerous animal crises in the region in which the emergency services were called upon to save poor, innocent creatures or in one case to help victims faced with vicious health threatening attacks from the sky.
Buzzards Attack Joggers
Let us start with what can only be described as a horror scenario for local joggers and hikers. This recurring nightmare continues to take place in the town of Mespelbrunn in the beautiful Bavarian Spessart valley (about half way between Frankfurt and Würzburg). For those interested in the exact geographical location I have included the coordinates with the Google Map below. It is hard to imagine how a lovely town, which even has its own moated waterside castle (opened in 1569), could be considered as the setting for a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’.
On the 12 July the Süddeutsche Zeitung published an interview with the Bürgermeister of Mespelbrunn, Erich Schäfer, about multiple attacks on Joggers and Hikers by a pair of Buzzards. The incidents have been occurring near the edge of the forest and in one incident a lady victim needed a Doctor’s certificate to allow her to take a week off work to recover from her injuries.
It would appear that the Buzzards had made their nest in a tree near the edge of the forest and were rearing their young there. They clearly prefered to have privacy and took a particular dislike to passing joggers and hikers. The Buzzards made their displeasure known by performing nosedive attacks on innocent passers-by. In the case of one lady, who was attacked ten times on Sunday morning, the end result was lacerations to the head and compressed vertebrae in the neck.
The Bürgermeister acknowledged that such incidents were very unfortunate and earlier in the year he took the unprecedented step of warning people of the dangerous situation in the local newsletter. His advice was that people should either avoid the location where the birds live or accept the fact that they are potential targets for airborne attacks.
He explained that he knows of one local jogger who now takes his ‘Prügel’ with him when he runs past the spot in question. ‘Prügel‘ is the German term for giving someone, or something, a beating: he was referring to the joggers walking stick. Clearly the German Bird Protection Society would not look very favourably upon this approach – they would probably recommend that one should simply wear a hat. The Bürgermeister did not think it likely that the local joggers would want to start wearing traditional Bavarian felt hats during their runs. He suggested an umberella might provide an alternative means of defense. Even one of the local councillors has recently been attacked – highlighting the Buzzard’s total lack of respect for German hierarchy or protocol. I suspect they may have come from France!
Ground zero for these ferocious airborne attacks is not far from the scenic Marienweg; a particularly well-known beautiful hiking path through the German Frankenland. Fortunately none of the attacks have taken place on this path. It is a blessing that the Mespelbrunn moated waterside castle is on the other side of town so its famous cultural festival is expected to be free of unprovoked aggression by ‘pedestrian hating’ (joggerphobic) buzzards. On this point the Bürgermeister was certain.
If you are interested in learning more about this beautiful location you can find a link to the Castle’s website here (only in German, Wikipedia has more info on Mespelbrunn Castle in English using this link and I have included a video below). Just remember the Bürgermeister’s recommendation to take either a suitable “Prügel” or a protective Bavarian felt hat (available at all Bavarian beer festivals).
Horse Nearly Drowns in Poo
The next dramatic animal story features a horse who had to be rescued by the heroic intervention of the Grafinger voluntary fire brigade. Edwin (the horse) managed to run into a very large manure heap and sank so deeply into it that he could not free himself. Fortunately Edwin was a particularly calm horse (typical of Hanoverian horses) and did not panic. His owner was certain that any other horse would have met its end in the dung heap. If you are interested in seeing what a typical well trained German horse can do take a look at the following video. I don’t know many girls that can dance this well to Queen, Rihanna and Status Quo – maybe I should be dating horses?
Although Hanoverians are derived from German animals this top class equestrian show horse came into being through an initiative by English King George II (who was also ‘Elector’ of the German state of Hanover). In 1835 he founded the state stud in the North German Town of Celle. Some of the best horse breeds of the time were brought to the stud and by the end of the 18th Century the Hanoverian had become a top class coach horse. In recent times they have won gold medals at all three Olympic equestrian events.
Now, back to Edwin. At 08:10 the Grafinger Fire Brigade received the alarm that there was an emergency involving a horse. It would appear that the horse’s rider discovered him in the paddock up to his waist in a pile of poo. He had managed to get his front legs over a wall at the edge of the manure heap but the rest of him was simply ‘stuck in the muck’. The rider told the owner of the riding school who immediately notified the emergency services together with a vet.
In a matter of minutes the rescue team arrived on site. Incredibly Edwin was very relaxed but the vet still decided to give him something to calm his nerves. Meanwhile the fire brigade raised the extendable ladder on their fire engine to which was attached a special belt designed for rescuing large animals. Before the belt was placed around Edwin’s body he was given a strong anaesthetic. At this point Edwin collapsed with his full body weight on the wall. The owner of the riding school explained to reporters that she did worry that he might potentially damage some of his internal organs.
Clearly there was no time to lose. Without hesitation members of the fire brigade extended the belt around the horse’s waist in order to be able to raise his rear end carefully over the wall and then pull him from the other side. For a short while his head drooped to one side and the owner of the riding school became very concerned. Fortunately, within a short space of time Edwin came to his senses. An initial inspection by the vet indicated that apart from a few abrasions the horse had managed to avoid any serious injuries.
Nobody is quite sure why Edwin ran into the manure heap. The head of the local fire brigade explained that this kind of thing happens in his area between 8-10 times a year. this is why they have the specialist equipment ready. Not only horses, but also calves and sheep, get themselves into similar difficulties. His most challenging situation was when a horse managed to get partly up a barn ladder in an attempt to get to some oats which had been stored at height. In this case the special ‘animal belt’ had to be attached to a fork-lift truck to enable the animal to be brought to the ground using a make-shift ‘elevator’. The main priority is always to save the animals without injuring them.
I think we should all recognise the tremendous courage and dedication of these voluntary emergency workers who despite the challenging circumstances (horse poo is not everyone’s idea of a comfortable working environment) rose to the occasion. Afterwards I am sure they took a well deserved shower.
I do not have a picture of Edwin but here is another Alpine horse ‘Nobbin’ who to the best of my knowledge has never been stuck in poo but happens to live on the road RISKKO and I take to our local alpine supermarket (he readily volunteered for this celebrity photo shoot).
Ducklings Down the Drain
I suspect some of my readers may already be thinking ‘after such dramatic stories of horror, human endeavour and extreme animal emergencies what could come next?’. Well the third story in this mini series from the Alpine press comes from Nyphenburg which is in the centre of Munich. Nyphenburg is famous for its Schloß and the surrounding park and Botanical Gardens. The Nyphenburg Palace was the summer residence of the Bavarian Kings and Princess.
When I first posted this article I included a video taken at the end of last year to celebrate the reopening of the Hubertussals room in the Nyphenburg Schloß featuring Julia Fischer playing Vivaldi but unfortunately it disappeared from the Internet. However beautiful fiddlers can not be put to rest so here is Julia playing Winter from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Relax and enjoy…..
Many readers will remember last week’s Blog featuring Status Quo at Kew Gardens so this offering from Wales should reinforce my cultural credentials. However just in case the rockers out there need a bit more head banging here is Vanessa Mae‘s renditioning of the same (well more or less) bit of music (not quite so relaxing this time…..):
Now, before you forget that I mentioned the Nymphenburg Palace, let’s return to my final animal horror story in this short series from the Alpine press.
On the morning of Friday 13th July (note the date!) a local resident called the Nymphenburg Police to report a serious animal emergency. Three local ducklings had fallen into a drain at the side of the road and were seriously trapped. The police managed to open the cover to the drain, watched anxiously by the duckling’s mother and her three other ducklings who had managed to avoid falling into the drain. Based on professional advice it was decided that the Mother and the rest of the ducklings did not require medication to help calm their nerves.
Using all the experience and expertise at their disposal the police managed to rescue the ducklings using the skilled application of a bucket. Thank goodness they were brought to the surface and after a quick medical evaluation were declared to be in good health. They were reunited with their family and the police closed the road running past the Nyphenburg Canal to allow them safe passage back to the park where they lived.
Once again the Bavarian emergency services were able to turn what could have been a tragedy into a wonderful success. Thank you chaps – a job well done!
Fortunately this and the story about Edwin allows me to end this weeks report from the Alpine press on a happy note. I would not be surprised if some readers of this article are interested in researching these animal emergencies further – perhaps some may even be considering doing a PhD on the subject. Therefore I include (below) links to relevant newspaper articles to enable you to access the stories in their original German text (a big thank you to the Süddeutsche Zeitung for bringing these heart wrenching stories of love and heroism to our attention).
Keep safe, stay happy and always be on the look-out for animals in distress,
For my German reading visitors here are some original articles featuring these stories:
If you found this review interesting you may also find some of my other recent articles worth checking out. To view these simply click over the titles below:
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