(CNN)Three New Zealand cows who found themselves stranded on a small island of grass after an earthquake triggered landslides have been rescued, according to local reports.
Their owner says their rescue was delayed because of fears the ground could crumble.
“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 was not named, told New Zealand’s Newshub.
“They 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.”
The stranded beef cows — two adults and a calf — were part of a larger group of about 14 cows which were recovered. The owner said that he had suffered livestock losses in the quake, which hit near the town of Kaikoura.
The three cows had been happily chewing cud when the country’s South Island was rocked by a deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake Monday, which swallowed the earth around them.
Newshub footage of the cows went viral on Twitter in the hours after the quake. Kaikoura is a small tourist town, home to around 3,500 people.