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Cows swept away by Hurricane Dorian found 3 months after swimming to safety

A trio of wild cows believed to have been swept away by the storm surge from Hurricane Dorian have been found on a nearby island in North Carolina.
/ Source: TODAY

It turns out the massive storm surge from Hurricane Dorian didn't entirely wipe out the wild horses and cows that lived on North Carolina's Cedar Island when it made landfall in September.

Three of the wild cows simply changed addresses.

Residents and national park officials were surprised to find three castaway cows living at Cape Lookout National Seashore park on the Outer Banks, about 3 miles from where the animals had been living before Hurricane Dorian hit.

"The cows surviving has just been a blessing,'' local resident Rhonda Hunter told Kerry Sanders on TODAY Friday.

Castaway cows
Wild cows have been living on North Carolina's Cedar Island for more than a century. Three of them somehow survived Hurricane Dorian by swimming to a nearby island. Carolina Wild Ones/P. O'Malley

National park officials believe the cows swam about 3 miles to their new home as they fought the surge from the Category 1 storm.

"It's an amazing story,'' BG Horvat of the Cape Lookout Parks Department said. "To be swept up by a 9-foot-plus surge of water that's coming back and filling up the sounds, and it's just coming. It's not stopping. It's just moving forward with a lot of force."

A group of 28 wild horses and at least 20 wild cows that had been living on Cedar Island simply disappeared in the wake of the storm. Finding at least three cows still alive was heartening for local residents.

"There have been animals living on these islands for years and years and they've always found a way to survive," Pam Flynn told TODAY.

The cows are survivors, just like the dog named Miracle that lived through Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas despite being trapped under rubble for three weeks.

Flynn and her friend Mike Caroll found the cows in their new home and took some photos of them.

"We had seen these tracks, so we kind of followed the tracks around, and finally Mike went up to the top of this hill and said, 'I found them, I found them!" Flynn said.

The cows seem to have found plenty of food in their new home, so park rangers may just let them stay there.

"I guess if horses can swim, I guess cows can,'' Flynn said. "Highlight of our day, week, month, year."