Elaborate search continues for cow lost on the Trans-Canada last spring

Photo courtesy Jennifer Teresinski

A cow stranded on the Trans-Canada Highway south of Wawa, Ontario, since last spring has become a local phenomenon and the subject of an elaborate rescue plan. The single steer is believed to be the last of a truckload of an estimated 50 cows that were destined to a slaughterhouse when the truck transporting them drove off the road on May 14, 2022. Cattle were spotted alongside the highway near Old Woman Bay for several months, and by August all but five were either rounded up or euthanized.  

Sault Ste. Marie-based rancher Jennifer Teresinski is one of several locals interested in rescuing the steer, which has been observed roaming the highway shoulder just north of Old Woman Bay, in Lake Superior Provincial Park, as recently as Christmas. Terensinski drives the highway weekly, watching for signs of the animal and working with counterparts from Wawa in leaving hay, corn, and oats in hopes of keeping the steer alive while resources are assembled for a rescue.

With baiting stations already in place, Teresinski says a crew is ready to set up a temporary corral to get about “cowboying, ranching, and doctoring” the cow, which she’s already named Tucker. There’s a “stock trailer and team ready,” Teresinski adds. “We have an arborist, snow machines, ranchers, and ropers ready. Tranquilizers are ready if needed, medical care supplies are packed and ready.”

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Teresinski has also lined up the services of a local large-animal veterinarian to check over the steer before it’s delivered to its “forever home,” a friend’s hobby farm in the community of Echo Bay, just east of Sault Ste. Marie. “Tucker is in the bush doing his thing,” says Teresinski, the owner of Wild Hearts Ranch. “He’s using his survival instinct and his body is in the dormant stages for winter to hold heat and fat. I think he has a chance to survive out there. It’s humans who are deciding his fate, and that affects his options more than wildlife predators.”  

Teresinski believes the time has long passed for the transport company to meet its obligation under the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to round up the entire load of cattle. “We decided after the Christmas snowstorms to keep searching,” she says. “We are networking and travelling, planning snowshoe trips. There’s no time limit, just a focus to get the cow back to a normal life at a rescue farm.”  

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