Thought to be lost at sea, Cedar Island’s wild cows reappear after Dorian

Surviving sea cows from Cedar Island discovered months after Hurricane Dorian. [Photo courtesy Carolina Wild Ones]

More than half the wild horses on Cedar Island, along with several wild cows who also roam the beach, were thought to have died in Hurricane Dorian’s storm surge.

Described as a “mini-tsunami,” a wall of water rushed the island south of the Outer Banks between Ocracoke and Cape Lookout. Prior to the hurricane, there were 49 wild horses on the island and about 20 “sea cows.” Only 21 of the horses have been accounted for, and — until this month — only one of the cows.

Caretakers from the Wild Horses of Cedar Island named the lone survivor Doriene after she was discovered near Cape Lookout, miles from her Cedar Island home. Earlier this month, they headed to the beach to check on her, and found she wasn’t alone after all.

“Much to our surprise, Doriene has found 2 of her family members. They all 3 look healthy and well. It is so amazing how strong and resilient these animals have been,” the nonprofit group said in a Facebook post.

Cape Lookout National Seashore has set a 30-day deadline for plans to remove the cows from park land, and ideally return them to Cedar Island, the Charlotte Observer reports.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at