6 min read

Survivor Cow Found Alive On An Island Months After Mysteriously Disappearing

In an incredible tale of survival, one seemed ripped from the pages of a bovine-themed "Robinson Crusoe", a cow who had been missing for months has been found safe and sound - living on a small island in the Irish countryside. And even more amazingly, she wasn't alone.

Cormeen, Ireland is a quaint, close-knit community made up of small family-operated farms, so when one of the local's cows vanished one day without a trace, word spread fast. Among those who heard the news was farmer Kevin Carolan, whose property borders a lake just up the shore from the field where the cow had last been seen.

"My neighbor had been looking for this cow for the last couple of months," Carolan told The Dodo by phone. "But he had given up on the idea that he was ever going to find her."

It seemed the most likely explanation for the cow's disappearance was that she had fallen into the lake and drowned, or perhaps had been stolen.

(Google Maps)

On Sunday, Carolan noticed something unusual about a small patch of land in the middle of the lake near his house. The island, just 20 yards in diameter, had always been so thickly overgrown with brambles and vegetation, it was impossible to see into it. But on that day, Carolan noticed the overgrowth had mysteriously been cleared - and he soon learned why.

"I could see directly into the island, and I saw a cow. I put two and two together, and realized that that was the missing cow," he says.

"What we think must have happened is that while the cows were drinking from the lake, some of the other cattle pushed her in. She obviously kept swimming in whatever direction she did until she came to the little island."

Carolan alerted his neighbor and volunteered to take his boat out to the island for a better look and to bring hay for the animal to eat. When he arrived to the island, Carolan found the castaway cow looking thin and weary having eaten virtually all the edible plants left on the island - but it turns out she'd been eating for two.

To his surprise, Carolan discovered the cow was in the company of a spry young calf. During her months being stranded, she'd given birth and was dutifully sharing the island's few nutrients with him by way of her life-giving sustaining milk.

"The calf is very, very healthy, jumping around like a young deer there," says Carolan. "But he was wide-eyed, you know, having never seen a human."

"She ate everything that was on that island that she could reach that was green. But in doing that, it was actually what saved her," says Carolan. "We would never have been able to see into the base of the island to find her."

(Kevin Carolan)

With no way of bringing the pair back to shore themselves, Carolan and the cow's owner sought help from a water rescue crew to safely move them to the mainland. The pickup is scheduled to take place on Saturday, so in the meantime Carolan is making daily trips to the island with hay to make sure the nursing cow stays well-fed.

The quaint Irish countryside might seem like the last place a true-life castaway story would take place, but the cow's determination to stay alive and feed her baby rivals that of any marine tale.

"The remarkable thing for me was how she survived," says Carolan. "She'd pulled down every little bit of anything that was green. She consumed it to keep that calf alive."