This is the story of how one brave man, one stunning rugby tackle, one Toyota Prado and one two-month-old kid helped rescue a starved, dehydrated calf wandering across Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
For about three days locals posted sightings of a calf at various spots in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, starting near the St Albans Road railway crossing and venturing as far as Muzz Buzz.
But at about 4.20am on Tuesday, the calf’s adventure came to an end.
She was spotted resting at Performance Gas and Mechanical by Phil and Georgina Conway who were on their way to look after their horses.
In a heroic move, Phil jumped out of the car and sprinted towards the calf, “rugby tackling her” before safely moving her into the back seat of the couple’s Prado.
The calf was taken to the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Race Course, but was then brought to wildlife carer Toni Russell after upsetting the horses.
Now named Steak Diane, the calf — albeit still wary of her new surroundings — is slowly coming out of her shell as she bunks with a rescued two-month-old goat named Trooper, who is teaching her how to drink milk and eat food.
Mrs Russell said Steak Diane was still very skinny and not feeding properly, but was warming up to her two-hourly feeds.
I know damn well she will probably just get eaten one day… but does that mean we should let them suffer until then?
And while it meant a lot of work for herself, Mrs Russell said the calf deserved a second chance.
“I don’t care what animal it is, every baby needs a second chance,” she said.
“I know damn well she will probably just get eaten one day, just like I know some of the kangaroos and joeys I care for might get shot or hit by a Mack truck, but does that mean we should let them suffer until then?”
While the story of how Steak Diane made it into Kalgoorlie-Boulder is anybody’s guess, Mrs Russell guessed she had either been raised by somebody as a pet who then let her go, or her mother had been killed somewhere near town.
A local station owner has agreed to take the calf on once she is of age to feed by herself.
“She really should be with her mum until she is about five months old, but I will just keep caring for her and encouraging her to drink and feed until she is ready,” Mrs Russell said.
And while Steak Diane still has a long way to go, Mrs Russell said her personality was starting to shine through.
“She started off a bit agitated and feisty, but she has calmed down a lot now and even lets us come up for a cuddle,” she said.