Tides Swept Three Cows Out To Sea During Hurricane Dorian. They're Now Grazing On A Remote Island


Madison Dapcevich

Staff Writer

clockNov 18 2019, 23:16 UTC

The wild cattle that lived on Cedar Island were not used to seeing humans or having them approach them. This one took off running when the photographer tried to get closer. NPS/Jeff West

A trio of wild cows not only survived tumultuous tides and severe weather conditions following Hurricane Dorian earlier this year, but they have been spotted grazing and living their best life on an island between 6.5 and 8 kilometers (4 and 5 miles) away from their home.

One cow was found in early September after the storm swept her off of her home range and onto a barrier island in the Cape Lookout National Seashore. Two cows have since joined her. No owner has been identified and it is believed that all three are wild animals because they act skittish when approached by humans.


"As the storm passed by North Carolina in early September, it caused a deep rush of water from Pamlico Sound back to the Atlantic Ocean,” wrote Cape Lookout National Seashore Park Service in a Facebook post. “This overwash swept across Cedar Island, taking the wild cows from their home range along with it.”

It is believed that the three cows reached the island by swimming 4 to 5 miles across the sound as the water rushed out of the Atlantic Ocean, reports the Charlotte Observer. The animals belong to a wild herd of about 20 cows that previously roamed on a private island, but it is thought that most of the cows died in the storm.  

“We found one cow on the barrier island soon after the storm, but as she was wild and very skittish, no one could get near her. She has now been joined by two more cows from Cedar Island who also found safety on the barrier island. We are now working on the best plan for them,” NPS concluded.


Hurricane Dorian became one of the most destructive storms in recent history when it made landfall in the Bahamas, with winds gusting at more than 320 kilometers per hour (200 miles) and a storm surge between 5.5 and 7 meters (18 and 23 feet) above normal tide levels. Its unprecedented flooding and “tornado-like violence” persisted as the storm made its way up the southeastern coast, resulting in billions of dollars in damage and some other bizarre side effects. (Not to mention a short-sighted claim made by political leaders.) Shortly after the storm, two beachgoers in South Carolina discovered a pair of Civil War-era cannonballs believed to have been unearthed by the powerful tidal surges. In Florida, at least two separate reports of cocaine were made to law enforcement in the wake of the storm, including a duffel bag containing 15 bricks of the illegal narcotic.

Rescuers will likely have to sedate the cows before bringing them back to their home island, reports the Washington Post.

This wild cow was found on North Core Banks following Hurricane Dorian in early September. She has now been joined by two more wild cows that also were washed over to the barrier island during the storm. NPS/Jeff West

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