A heifer has been saved by a farming family in a daring sea rescue after it plunged more than 60ft down a steep cliff in Wales.
The 14-month-old Friesian was roped to a boat and pulled a mile through open water to safe ground yesterday evening (Thursday, 30 July), having toppled on to a Ceredigion beach that had no exit route for an animal.
The rescue was led by the Griffiths family, who milk 280 cows at Llangrannog, after the animal had spent four days on the beach after breaking through a fence and slipping down the cliff last Sunday (26 July).
See also: In-calf cow rescued from muddy stream
With an RNLI vessel nearby in case of emergencies, the heifer was harnessed to a small boat, with those aboard helping support its head and body as it was taken across deep water to safety.
“My dad and brother had actually seen her fall,” said Caryl Griffiths.
“She was banging on to the rocks, one by one, bashing and twisting her head. The noise was unbearable. They couldn’t believe it would have been possible to have survived that trauma.”
The men tended the animal and carefully dragged it back on to the safe sand.
“She was alive and breathing – it was a miracle,” said Caryl.
They gave the heifer painkillers and an inflammatory treatment, water, cake and fresh silage, then began investigating options for its return to farmland – but repeatedly hit obstacles.
The Griffiths were even told they might have her put down.
“We were determined to find the best way to get her back to safety,” said Caryl.
A crowd of locals gathered to watch the animal safely returned via a slipway into a waiting trailer.
“It was very emotional. She’s in really good spirits and you can’t tell anything’s happened to her.”
She will be kept under observation for a few days then join the rest of the herd.
“She’s like part of the family now,” added Caryl. “We’ve christened her ‘Seren’, which is Welsh for ‘star’.”