Moose calf rescued from raging river in Alaska

U.S. & World

SUTTON, Alaska (KTVA/CNN Newsource) — A moose calf was a tough spot — it was stranded in an Alaska river.

Emergency crews were called in to help save the animal.

Faint cries from a moose calf can be heard over rushing water on the Kings River north of Sutton.

The calls for help 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.

Marley thinks the calf and mom were trying to cross the river.

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

He said this is a very similar rescue the team has performed before, with a person.

Marley and team president Jeremy Lilly paddled in. Their next move is to corral the moose, which tried 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 tied up its legs.

“So the moose calf didn’t injure its legs during transport,” Marley said.

And then gently placed the baby in the raft.

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

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,” Marley said. “The thought was being the end of the weekend things would calm down the calf would cry out to mom and then be reunited.”

A successful save.

“It was definitely a feel good moment,” Marley said.

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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