A missing pony who had to be let loose as devastating flood waters approached Kurashiki, Japan, was found alive, standing on the roof of a house.
Leaf, a miniature mare who is used as a therapy animal at Life Town Mabi, a care home for the elderly, disappeared when the area was evacuated on 6 July.
Workers at the facility assumed the nine-year-old had drowned when torrential rain and burst rivers overwhelmed the district, causing extensive damage.
Life Town Mabi employee Mari Tanimoto had searched nearby hills for the mare once the waters receded on 9 July, hoping she had reached higher ground.
But on Monday (10 July) she was discovered much closer to home on the roof of a private house, a few kilometres from Life Town, by workers from Peace Winds Japan — a non-profit organisation carrying out disaster relief in the area.
As well as being hungry, thirsty and muddy, Leaf also suffered minor leg injuries when she fell from the 2m-high roof before rescuers were able to reach her.
Local residents said they were baffled how the mare had reached the roof, as flood waters had not risen that high.
“I thought that she was already dead, but luckily she seemed to have survived on the roof,” Masayuki Yoshida, a colleague of Mari’s, told Japanese publication Asahi Shimbun.
“Leaf is so loved that 40 or 50 people visit on weekends to feed her. She did well over those three days.”
Searches were undertaken for Leaf’s colt foal Earth, who remained missing, but he was later found dead in the grounds of Kurashiki adult disease centre.
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Leaf is now being taken care of at another farm linked to Mabi, it has been reported.
Some 1.6million people have been evacuated and 200 killed since rains hit Japan last week causing flooding and landslides — the country’s worst weather disaster for 36 years.
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