Moose calf rescued from raging river

Cherish's Creature Corner

SUTTON, Alaska. (CNN) — A moose calf was in a tough spot, stranded in an Alaska river. Emergency crews were called in to help save the animal.

Faint cries from the moose calf can be heard over rushing water on the Kings River north of Sutton. The calls for help were answered by the Alaska Dive Search, Rescue and Recovery team.

“I never woke up thinking I would rescue a moose calf on Memorial Day,” said Frank Marley, dive team member.

Some campers heard something in the water overnight and later saw the little calf trapped on a gravel bar in the middle of the river, so they called authorities. Marley thinks the calf and mom were trying to cross the river.

He said, “They encountered the heavy flow and junior got swept down and probably spent a cold night on the middle of a gravel bar.”

Marley says this is a very similar rescue the team has performed before, with a person. This time, Marley and team president Jeremy Lilly paddle in and try to corral the moose which tries to evade them like a scrambling quarterback.

“We were trying to go slow and methodic without forcing it into a bad decision which was going back into the river,” Marley said.

The rescuers get a hold of the calf and tie up its legs so they weren’t injured during transport. Then they gently place the baby in their raft.

Marley said, “I was trying to calm the calf trying to minimize stress.”

Then, a rescue technique allows the rushing water to guide the raft from the gravel bar to the river bank.

“It’s a smooth controlled procedure,” Marley said.

From there Marley handed off the calf to another team member, who carried it to a wildlife trooper on scene.

“He took it to a safe little spot in the woods. The thought was being the end of the weekend things would calm down the calf would cry out to mom and then be reunited,” Marley said.

A successful save and the very first moose save for the team. Marley credits the campers who reported the stranded calf instead of trying to rescue it themselves.

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