New Zealand cows rescued after stranded by earthquake

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Media captionThree cows were left stranded after the quake

Three cows stranded on a tiny island of grass after Monday's earthquake in New Zealand have been rescued.

Newshub reported that their owner, Derrick Millton, dug a track and herded them down to a safer area.

A geologist told the news portal that the Herefords may have "surfed" the land as it crumbled and left them marooned several metres above ground.

The two adult cows and one calf are now safe, but "quiet... they've had a terrible ordeal," said Mr Millton.

He added: "You're a clever cow to skip and dance while the land beneath you is disappearing down the hill."

Image copyright Newshub
Image caption Mr Millton said he and other rescuers shovelled a track and managed to guide the cows down

The cows were among 14 which were rescued after the land collapsed. Mr Millton told Newshub that he had lost other cattle.

The rescued cows "desperately needed water, cows don't like living without water so that was the first requirement, and I think one or two had lost calves in the earthquake so they were a bit distressed," he said.

The incident took place at a farm near Kaikoura, northeast of Christchurch and the town hardest hit by Monday's 7.5-magnitude earthquake. Rescues are ongoing at Kaikoura.

Image copyright Newshub
Image caption The cows - and other livestock - are now on firmer and flatter ground

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