British Columbia

After seeing 'something weird' in the snow, trucker embarks on unusual rescue

Wayne Rowley wasn't sure what he saw sticking out of a snow bank in northern B.C. Then he realized they were the legs of a moose calf stuck, upside-down and unable to get free from the deep powder.

Wayne Rowley soon realized he was looking at the legs of a moose calf, sticking straight in the air

When Wayne Rowley saw a moose calf stuck upside-down in the snow, he wasn't sure if it was still alive. (Wayne Rowley)

Wayne Rowley wasn't sure what he saw sticking out of a snow bank in Northern B.C. when he was on a logging truck run last week. Then he realized they were the legs of a moose calf that was stuck, upside-down and unable to get free.

"I seen something weird sticking out of the snowbank, and I wasn't quite sure what it was," said Rowley, a long-time trucker based out of Vanderhoof, B.C.

"I backed up to have a look and there's this little moose." 

Rowley was driving on a forest service road near Vanderhoof on Feb. 8, just as heavy snowfall in the region was making it difficult for moose to get around. He said he wasn't sure if the calf was still alive, but when he walked over to check, the calf turned its head to look at him.

"It just lay there blinking," he said.

Wayne Rowley said in all of years of driving B.C. backroads, he's never had this sort of encounter. (Wayne Rowley)

Rowley grabbed a shovel and started digging, making sure to keep a barrier in case the calf decided to start kicking. Then, with the help of another driver, he placed a rope around the calf and pulled it to its feet.

Once free, the moose "gave me a funny look, put back his ears and away he went."

The rescue could be important not just to the individual moose, but to the species as a whole.

Roy Rea, an instructor in the University of Northern British Columbia's Ecosystem Science and Management program, has warned the moose population in Northern B.C. is dropping dramatically, so taking steps to help the animals whenever possible is critical.

Winter can be particularly hazardous for the animals, as they have a hard time navigating the deep powder.

A moose calf is free thanks to a truck driver who found it stuck in the deep snow and started shovelling. (Wayne Rowley)

The same week Rowley had his encounter, eight other moose were struck and killed by vehicles as the animals made their way to cleared roads and highways in order to avoid struggling through the snow.

Officials have asked drivers to slow down and pay attention to the road around them. Rowley said he's glad he was doing just that in order to spot the young calf.

"Gave him a second chance at life," he said. "All that snow, that's pretty tough slugging."

With files from Nicole Oud

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