Did they fly, or did they swim?

Dunedin people who live near several city beaches have recently been scratching their heads over up to five dead cattle which have apparently been washed up on the beaches under mysterious circumstances.

Dunedin police Senior Sergeant Brian Benn said police had been advised by locals that as many as three dead cattle were seen washed up at St Clair Beach on Saturday.

Police could confirm one carcass was definitely found there and had been removed by a contractor, apparently for the Dunedin City Council, before police arrived.


The ODT was recently contacted by a city resident who drew attention to two earlier finds of dead cattle on other nearby beaches over the previous fortnight.

He raised the possibility that the cattle could have fallen from cliffs in the area and said he had contacted the Otago Regional Council seeking more information.

Asked about those earlier finds, horse trainer and farmer Paul Bain, who lives near Tomahawk Beach, said one dead cattle beast had been found at St Kilda Beach, close to Lawyers Head, and this had been safely removed by contractors with a vehicle which had been driven on to the beach.

Another beast had been found about halfway along Tomahawk Beach and had been buried there by a three-tonne mechanical digger.

Mr Bain noted there had been flooding in the Taieri area in recent weeks, and said it was "very likely" that the higher than usual water level had "picked them up and taken them out", washing the cattle down river and later depositing them on the beaches.

Neither Mr Bain nor ORC operations staff could be contacted for comment yesterday about the further cattle found at the weekend.