We like to moove it moove it

Bush Heritage staff and students often come across some unusual and challenging things in the field. But a cow stuck firmly in the mud?

Last Saturday Al Healy, a Doctoral student from University of Queensland, was re-surveying Night Parrot feeding sites on a pastoral property neighbouring Pullen Pullen Reserve when he heard a few sad little 'moos' emanating from a calf at a nearby dam. Al found a hungry and rather thin weaner well and truly stuck in some wet clay near a drain pipe. He quickly surmised that this would need to be a group animal rescue and came back to Pullen Pullen for help.

Judging by the poor body condition of the calf, it hadn't eaten for quite some time. Luckily for us she had her priorities straight and focused her attention on eating the grass we picked for her. We could then get stuck into opening up the muddy tomb encasing the small beast – which we named Claypot. We dug the mud from around her hind and fore legs using hands and shovels, wrapped a ratchet strap around her chest, and popped a couple of Max Trax under her body. (Max Trax are used for giving bogged vehicles traction – good for cows too!)

It took most of Saturday morning but we finally freed her, the final release from the mud coming with a soft, wet, satisfying pop! However, Claypot couldn’t walk due to what we could only guess was an awful case of pins and needles. It was going to take some time for the blood to recirculate back into her legs. For a moment we thought her back legs might be been dislocated, but after about 30 minutes she was up and grazing.

It was a little bit of help for our neighbouring pastoralists that we were more then happy to give. I’m sure if she could Claypot would like to thank: Ian and Barb Hall (two excellent Bush Heritage Australia volunteers), Al (calf finder, botanist), Alex and Katrina (two ardent Bush Heritage Australia staff) and Dr Nick (the humble ecological contractor).