Cow, bear play in orchard |

Cow, bear play in orchard

AP Photo/Longmont Times-Call, courtesy Penny CoxA cow named Apple confronts a bear climbing over a fence into her pasture after the bear had been found in an apple tree in Hygiene, Colo., on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008. Officers with the Colorado Division of Wildlife were called to the scene, but by the time they arrived the bear was gone. (AP Photo/Longmont Times-Call, courtesy Penny Cox)

HYGIENE, Colorado ” A curious cow and a young wild bear touched noses and hung out together in a pasture before the bear dashed off with the cow in pursuit, neighbors said. But whether the cow was chasing off the bear or just wanted to play is a matter of debate.

Residents of this rural town about 30 miles northwest of Denver say the encounter took place Sunday after the bear climbed into an apple tree in the cow’s pasture and then climbed down.

The cow is named Apple because she loves eating the fruit of that very tree, said her owner, Nancy Dayton, who describes Apple as more pet than livestock.

Apple ambled over for a look, said Penny Cox of Hygiene, who witnessed the get-together.

“The cow, she thinks she’s a dog, so she’s interested in everything,” Cox said.

Eventually the bear took off with Apple running after it.

“We really can’t say whether she chased him away or wanted him to play,” Cox said.

Dayton, who didn’t witness the confrontation, thinks Apple may have wanted the bear to vamoose.

“We kind of joke she was defending her tree,” she said.

Dayton said Apple weighs about 1,200 pounds. There’s no sign either animal was hurt.

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