The Curious Case of the Opitsaht Cows of Vancouver Island

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16 Responses

  1. Denise says:

    I think these are the descendants of the cattle brought in by the missionaries that ran Christie Indian Residential School. When they broke free they were left to fend for themselves. Several homesteaders brought in livestock. Most broke free and were taken by wolves. There was a similar herd of cattle in Hesquiaht but they’re all gone. There is a local story of a homesteader on nearby Flores Island who couldn’t keep his livestock contained and they were taken by wolves. He left the area after being rescued from an islet where he was stranded for several weeks.

    • Sara Dobak says:

      Fascinating stuff! Thank you so much for your added knowledge, Denise – and apologies for the late response (I have been moving house!). I fell in love with the area when I visited and these stories add to its unique magic. 🙂

  2. What a great story Sara. I loved visiting Tofino, but can’t say I ran into the cows. They look so healthy, island life must suit them. then again, I think living in Tofino would make me pretty happy too.

    • Sara Dobak says:

      I’m with you there, Alison, it would be hard not to have a great life in Tofino 🙂

  3. Such an interesting story – an unusual to see the cows happily grazing on the beach

  4. The ‘do-gooders’ obviously didn’t think this one through very well. I once woke after a little nap on a beach in Vietnam to find a herd of cows ambling past like they were out on a day trip.

    • Sara Dobak says:

      How random! You must’ve taken a few seconds to gather your bearings, I imagine?!

  5. Anna Parker says:

    These cows are gorgeous! I remember being very surprised when we saw cows ambling down the beach in Goa – clearly it is something that happens in the right place over the world!

    • Sara Dobak says:

      Aren’t they?! Seems like quite a few folks have seen cows on the beaches of Goa, though. I feel I ought to visit so I can make a direct comparison between the two experiences 😉

  6. Lucy says:

    How bizarre! Cows on the beach always reminds me of Goa in India where they used to wander past our sunloungers, but it’s not something I’d expect to see in Canada.

    • Sara Dobak says:

      Indeed! The story tickled me for sure. I guess the Goa cows are there for divine reasons rather than through colonisation…but either way it does seem out of place 🙂

  7. I well remember those cows from our trip! Just two males must mean they are dreadfully inbred. They could do with a visit from a frisky male or two from a totally different gene pool. Great story though. It’s staggering how little thought is so often put into ‘charitable’ acts around the world to this day.

    • Sara Dobak says:

      Great point – we’ll smuggle one in next time we visit 😉 On the charity side, when I stayed with a host family on Lake Titicaca, our guide advised us to buy grain and other food staples as gifts- so much more appropriate, I feel!

  8. Cows on the beach, eh? Wow I have really learned something – I have spent a fair bit of time on the island and I didn’t know about these cows!

    • Sara Dobak says:

      Do you know, they were only briefly mentioned at the beginning of a whale-watching excursion, but I found the story so quirky I couldn’t resist passing it on!

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