Impromptu Prince George team saves orphaned baby moose
'If these calves have been without their mom [for days] they're gonna be in real dire straits'
A pair of orphaned baby moose are safe thanks to an impromptu team of rescuers assembled in Prince George over the May long weekend.
It started Saturday when Roy Rea, a University of Northern B.C. instructor, received an early-morning text message from Angelika Langen of the Northern Lights Wildlife Society in Smithers.
"She said, 'Roy we've got a couple of moose calves that need to be saved,'" Rea told CBC Daybreak North host Robert Doane.
"Can you see what you can do about that?"
Race against time
Rea, a forestry and biology lab instructor who researches wildlife-vehicle collisions, hopped into his truck to the area where the calves had last been seen.
"I noticed along the side of the road in the area a big blood spatter and a bunch of pieces from a car," Rea recalled.
I got down in the swamp ... I busted out my moose call and started calling like a moose cow would call- Roy Rea
A person who lives in the area told him the collision had occurred earlier in the week.
"I thought to myself, 'uh oh, if these calves have been without their mom for a couple of days they're gonna be in real dire straits.'"
To hear Rea describe the rescue effort, listen to the audio titled "Prince George man saves orphaned baby moose after crash kills mom."
Fortunately the person who had reported the calves to Langen was a former student of Rea's, and she'd thought to put up blue flagging ribbon to mark where they were seen — though he still had to work to locate them.
"I got down in the swamp ... I busted out my moose call and started calling like a moose cow would call," said Rea.
He was soon joined by a passing motorist — Joe Myatovic, who happened to have built Rea's house.
Myatovic called in his brother, Philip, to join in the search and it was Philip who ultimately found the orphans.
"He said 'I found [them], and I think one of them is dead — the other is very weak,'" said Rea.
"I raced up... and I said 'Philip, I think both of them are actually still alive.'"
See the moment Roy Rea found the male and female baby moose: (Note: you must be logged into Facebook to activate the link or see the video.)
Rea and Myatovic put the male and female calves — which appeared to be just days old — in a kennel, then drove them to a local animal hospital where they received fluids.
"Then they start nudging everybody, looking for milk, because now they're hungry," Rea laughed.
He then drove the calves to Burns Lake, B.C., to meet representatives from the rescue society who took them the rest of the way to Smithers.
"They're very healthy and happy," Rea said.
"The future looks really bright for them."
Ultimately, it's not how Rea planned to spend his long weekend but says it was well worth his time.
"Each one of these little calves is worth their weight in gold."