WELLINGTON: Three cows who became a worldwide sensation after they were left stranded on a small patch of grass following a New Zealand earthquake have been rescued.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit central New Zealand early on Monday (Nov 14), killing at least two people and causing widespread damage.
Helicopter footage showed the two cows and a calf trapped on a tiny piece of land that was left standing after the fields around them collapsed following landslides triggered by the powerful quake.
The footage, captured by New Zealand news service Newshub while flying over farmlands outside the town of Kaikoura, was shared widely around the world. Many viewers called for a rescue mission to be mounted to save the cows.
On Tuesday, Newshub reported that the cows had been saved after a group of rescuers dug them out of their predicament with picks and shovels.
“We dug a track with a number of people - the soil was quite soft because it had all been tipped over and bumbled around, we managed to get a track in and bring them out,” the farmer who owns the cattle was quoted as saying.
The three cows were part of a larger group of 14 rescued from the property, which was relatively flat before the earthquake.
"We did lose stock, there were stock losses, but the whole hillside fell during the earthquake and we had a lot of stock on there - we don't know what we've got," he said.
The “very docile” cows had been given water and are now safe, the farmer added.
The earthquake lifted parts of his property by three metres, he said.