They’ve survived a hurricane, but nobody is certain how they did it. They’ve earned the nickname “sea cows” along the North Carolina coast (it’s a term normally reserved for manatees in Florida.) And now it looks like they’ll be put a boat for a return trip home. We’re talking about the three cows that suddenly appeared on Cape Lookout National Seashore along the Outer Banks about one month after Hurricane Dorian.
First a little background. Hurricane Dorian was devastating to the wildlife on Cedar Island; a private island along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The hurricane sent a “mini-tsunami” of water across the island, washing a herd of 28 wild horses and 20 cows out to sea. The horses and most of the herd of cows drowned. But now it appears three of the cows survived.
“It’s a tremendous story of how they made it,” park spokesman B.G. Horvat told The New York Times. “If the cows could talk, imagine the story they can tell you of enduring that rush of water and then the swim. It must be incredible.”
No one knows for sure, but it appears once the castaway cows were swept off the island, they managed to swim five miles to a barrier island. That’s where they have survived by grazing off the land for the past couple of months. Now the National Park Service is determining the best way to return the cows to their home.
The most likely method seems to be sedating them and taking them back to Cedar Island on a boat. If a bovine reboot of Gilligan’s Island is ever in the works, the casting director knows where to look.
Frank Graff is a producer/reporter with UNC-TV, focusing on Sci NC, a broadcast and online science series.