A newborn calf that made a dramatic entrance into the world by rolling down a steep cliff into the Hopkins River had to be rescued by Warrnambool SES crews on Saturday.
Rowers on the river noticed the calf at the bottom of the cliff at the water’s edge and called for help about 10.30am.
Warrnambool unit controller Giorgio Palmeri the SES deployed its rescue boat and located the tiny calf half submerged at the edge of the river upstream from Deakin University on the opposite side.
“The mother must have been on the cliff, I would say, when the calf was born it rolled down the hill and down in the water,” he said.
“It was very young, just born, the umbilical cord was still attached.
“It was very steep.
“He must have had a very big fall.”
Mr Palmeri said he was surprised the calf had not sustained any injuries in the fall. “We gave him a quick check. He was able to stand on his legs but of course very scared and very cold,” he said.
“We picked it up and put it on the back of the boat and brought it back to shore.”
The calf was wrapped in a blanket and secured for the minute-and-a-half ride back to the jetty.
Mr Palmeri said they were able to located the owner and reunite the calf with its mother.
He said it was the first time he could recall that they had been called to rescue a calf.
“We’ve done a few animals, we’ve done cats, we’ve done dogs and we’ve done birds,” he said. “We’ve also done koalas during the floods last year in Framlingham but calves, as far as I can remember, no we haven’t done any.”
Mr Palmeri praised the work of the SES volunteers.