Waikato community comes together to rescue obese steer 'fed with too much kindess' from stream

The steer being rescued in Waikato.
The steer being rescued in Waikato. Photo credit: Supplied / Lynley Tulloch

More than 20 people came together to help rescue a beloved steer named Gabriel from a rocky stream in the Waikato on Thursday. 

Five-year-old Gabriel and his fellow steer Alfie were discovered in the stream by their owner, Lynley Tulloch, after the animals fell down a bank at a property in Bombay, Waikato shortly after 11:30am. 

Tulloch said "it was just horrible" when she found the steers lying on their sides with their legs in the air after they fell down the steep bank. 

She said the slightly smaller steer, Alfie, was able to get up on his own - but Gabriel was too "obese" to right himself. 

Tulloch told Newshub around 15 members of the fire service, a vet and members of the community came to the stream to help rescue Gabriel after she went door-knocking and posted a call for help on Facebook. 

Tulloch said her phone was "ringing off the hook" with people offering to help.

Rescuers first tried to lift Gabriel out of the stream with manpower, but had to resort to a digger and fire-fighting hoses to lift the steer out. 

People trying to pull out steer.
People trying to pull out steer. Photo credit: Supplied / Lynley Tulloch

"It really speaks volumes about the power of the community in areas like this that come together when they feel someone or an animal is in need."

Tulloch said she was shaken by the "horrific" three-hour ordeal. 

"I brought up Gabriel from a young bobby calf and he's very tame and he's like a pet to me, so watching him under so much distress and knowing that I made a foolish decision putting him on this terrain sort of makes me feel sick." 

She added they were overweight because she had fed them with "too much kindness".

Lynley with Gabriel in April 2021.
Lynley with Gabriel in April 2021. Photo credit: Supplied / Lynley Tulloch

Tulloch said she was "humbled" by the community response. 

Both steers have been checked by the local vet and were lucky to escape with only a few scratches. She said Gabriel was given anti-inflammatories. 

Tulloch is working to get Alfie and Gabriel moved to a flatter property that is more suitable.