A cattle farmer in New Zealand says he's preparing a welcome home party for a young bull who vanished in floodwaters earlier this month, only to turn up 50 miles away near the coast. After intense flooding on the South Island's West Coast, locals spent hours pulling dead cattle from a bush in the coastal area of Westport, where they'd been swept by a surging river, the Guardian reports. It was a heartbreaking sight—but one brightened by the surprise emergence of a young bull looking rather harried. The Hereford from a farm in the Shenandoah area had apparently survived a 50-mile trip down the Maruia River, over the 33-foot-high Maruia Falls, into the joining Buller River, and on to the coast, narrowly avoiding being swept out to sea.
Farmer Tony Peacock initially considered himself lucky to have lost only three cattle, considering one neighbor lost 74, per the Greymouth Star. Then he learned a Westport farmer had reported finding his ear-tagged bull. "He heard a bit of rustling in the blackberry and a Hereford bull poked his head out," Peacock says, per the Guardian. That the bull appeared in need of rest was no surprise. "It's a fairly long trip and amazing he survived," says the farmer, now awaiting the bull's return by truck. "I think he will get legend status now and be put in a paddock to retire with some cows," he adds. The Hereford might also get a date. Someone has reached out "wanting to send a young heifer out to him, to try and get some good breeding stocks" given the bull's newfound reputation as a resilient young beast. (Read more New Zealand stories.)