Three New Zealand cows were saved Tuesday from an eerie island of grass where they had been stranded after an earthquake obliterated their pasture.
The plight of the cattle — two adults and a calf — captured international attention Monday night after footage shot from a helicopter showed them looking bewildered on an outcrop surrounded by mini-cliffs of mud. A geologist told Newshub, which filmed the video, that the cows had likely “surfed” the land as it shifted beneath them.
The animals’ owner, farmer Derrick Millton, told the website that he and helpers used shovels to dig the cows an exit passage from their precarious plateau. “We cut a track with shovels and encouraged them down. They’re quiet but they’ve had a terrible ordeal,” he said. “You’re a clever cow to skip and dance while the land beneath you is disappearing down the hill.”
Turns out other cows near Kaikoura, a town on the northeast coast of country’s south island, also kept their balance during the quake. At least two others are still stranded, according to the New Zealand news site Stuff.
— Stuff.co.nz News (@NZStuff) November 15, 2016
A spokeswoman for Federated Farmers of New Zealand told the site that many other cattle could be in the same situation.
“It’s predominantly a dry stock region with beef and sheep,” Leigh Catley said. “There’s some very, very big properties in that region so we’re probably talking about a reasonable number of stock.”
Hundreds of people, too, are stranded in the region where the 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck. Authorities have said they are sending helicopters and ships to carry out evacuations.