The owner of one of the dead cows found on beaches in Dunedin has been tracked down by the Otago Regional Council.
The cow carcass washed up at St Clair Beach on Saturday, with dead cows also washing ashore at two other beaches in the Lawyer's Head and Tomahawk areas in recent weeks.
The St Clair carcass was found on Saturday by Otago Regional Council contractor City Care, which told police it had previously removed at least two others from beaches.
Council spokesman Scott MacLean said Saturday's cow had an ear tag that identified the farm it came from, and he expected to talk to the farmer today to find out more details.
Mr MacLean said dead stock ending up in the sea did happen from time to time, but seemed to have happened a bit more in the past few weeks and he was not sure why.
"I don't know what's caused them, but it's entirely feasible a cattle beast, if it's near the edge of a cliff, could fall off, or perhaps be washed into a river and then out to sea. There's any number of explanations for it."
He said there could be health problems with decomposing animals ending up on city beaches, and they were not good to look at, so the council cleaned them up as quickly as possible.
The Otago Regional Council was responsible for animals found below the high tide line, but the city council was responsible for any found above it.
Police have ruled out any connection to the 500 missing cows reported stolen from an Ashburton property.