Update: Cows stranded on tiny patch of grass after New Zealand 7.9 earthquake rescued

Three New Zealand cows who became the focus of international attention after they were spotted in aerial footage stranded on top of a ravine have been rescued.

The cows were stranded on a small island of grass after an earthquake triggered landslides.

Their owner said the rescue was delayed because of fears the ground could crumble.

“It was a difficult exercise,” Derrick Millton, the farmer who owns the cows, told CNN. “We dug a path for them, and once they realized what was happening they meandered their way across to safety.”
The beef cows — two adults and a calf — were without water for 24 hours. They were part of a larger group of about 14 cows that were recovered.
Millton said he suffered livestock losses in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which hit early Monday near Kaikoura, a small tourist town of about 3,500 people.
The three cows had been happily chewing cud when the deadly quake rocked the country’s South Island, swallowing the earth around them.
“They were very fortunate that they happened to be in a place that didn’t break up too much,” Mllton said.

On Facebook, Dr. Chris Brown relayed how the cows were rescued:

A group of local farmers took on the task with nothing more than picks and shovels.

Over a few hours this morning they’ve dug a trench using picks and shovels and freed the cows who were in desperate need of food and water.

Aside from the inspiring community effort, what’s even more remarkable is that it appears the cows ‘surfed’ that island to its eventual resting spot when a large landslide hit their home paddock. Now that’s one incredible survival story…

 Aerial footage of the quake’s impact also caught shots of three cows  near Kaikoura. The town, located on the coast of the South Island of New Zealand, suffered severe damage and has been cut off from access by the highway. Navy ships are en route to help.

The cows look to be two adult cattle and a calf and were spotted on a island of grass surrounded by deep ravines.

But just as news hit of the rescue of these three cows, another photographer, Ross Giblin of Fairfax News, spotted two more cows who looked to be stranded.

According to statistics, there are more cows than people in New Zealand. There are more than 5 million dairy cows being milked in the country where 4.5 million people live.

Here’s the video, via The Guardian:

h/t: NPR


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Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers

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