Calf lifted to safety after being stranded on Cornish cliff for a week
A stranded calf that plunged 100FT down a cliff during a landslide was finally rescued a week later - after coastguards airlifted it to safety.
The seven-month-old red-coated Dexter was grazing on land overlooking the sea when it got close to the edge and the earth gave way.
It miraculously survived the fall but found itself marooned on rocks in a cove off the coast of the Lizard, Cornwall.
A farmer raised the alarm last Friday after he spotted the 100-kilo animal at the base of the cliff.
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Lifeboat crews concluded the rocks posed too much of a risk for a sea landing but the Royal Navy agreed to lift the animal to safety with a Sea King search and rescue helicopter.
The RSPCA advised the farmer to drop wet hay over the cliff to ensure the heifer had adequate food and hydration until rescuers swung into action Tuesday.
RSPCA chief inspector Neil Thomas said: "Myself and another rope rescue trained inspector managed to set a guide line into the cliff and work out a route down to the cove.
"Then a team of eight people comprising four RSPCA inspectors and one animal welfare officer, two Royal Naval ground crew and a vet descended to the cove.
"The weather was wet and squally and the ground was so saturated and unstable because of the landslip.
"It was OK going down but really difficult climbing back up because the ground kept giving way.
"The calf was remarkably uninjured and clearly had been able to drink from rainwater puddles as well as eat the hay thrown down to it.
"It weighed around a 100 kilos so it took a number of us to catch it and guide it into position on a tarpaulin placed over a cargo net. It was then sedated by the vet and the helicopter was called in."
The calf was airlifted to a nearby field by members of 771 Naval Air Squadron, based at nearby RNAS Culdrose, and it was reunited with its mother and the rest of the herd.
Mr Thomas added: "This rescue was carried out in appalling weather conditions with a very strong southerly gale blowing all day and frequent very heavy showers.
"The skill and courage shown by the helicopter crew in these conditions was absolutely remarkable and deserving of recognition.
"The whole on site rescue team were extremely soggy and some very muddy at the end but all were happy that the rescue had been a success."
Dexter cattle, the smallest breed of European cattle, are used for milk, beef or as oxen.