Three cows swept off an island in North Carolina during Hurricane Dorian have been found alive on a neighbouring island after swimming several miles to safety.
Dorian pounded the US state with fierce winds and destructive tornadoes when it made landfall on the Outer Banks island chain in September.
The hurricane generated a “mini tsunami” on September 6, which carried dozens of wild horses and cows off Cedar Island, causing most to perish.
But three of the cows have been discovered alive and well roaming a national park in Cape Lookout, some four miles from their original home.
Park officials believe the cattle made the improbable journey by swimming when rising floodwaters and a storm surge swept them out to sea.
Had they been pushed out any further, they would have found themselves adrift in the open ocean.
The trio are thought to be part of a group of domesticated cattle that grazes on private land on Cedar Island. It is believed most of the livestock died in the storm.
Cape Lookout national park’s officials are working to locate the cattle’s caretakers and return them home. A spokesman for the park, BG Horvat, told local media that the cows will most likely have to be sedated and returned to Cedar Island by boat.
“Remember, the cows and all the horses were swept away with the water surging back. Who knows exactly, but the [cows] certainly have a gripping story to share,” he told the Charlotte Observer.
The trio have formed a close bond since making their unlikely escape from Cedar Island, Mr Horvat told the New York Times. “Ever since they found each other, they have been hanging out together,” he said. “They are just grazing on the North Core Island.”