Sudbury·Audio

Moose jumps into backyard pool after hopping fence

A moose in northern Ontario got into some deep water trouble but emerged uninjured Monday, and the homeowner who witnessed the strange encounter says it taught her a lot about the animal's abilities.

Uninjured animal released into woods, but 'did draw quite a crowd,' Sudbury-area homeowner says

The young female moose jumped a two-metre-high fence before landing in Kelsey Heikkila's backyard pool at her Sudbury, Ont.-area home on Monday. (@JesseOshell/Twitter)

A moose in northern Ontario got into some deep trouble Monday — literally.

The young female jumped a fence and landed in a backyard pool in the Greater Sudbury community of Garson.

Kelsey Heikkila had settled her children into some online learning when she heard a large bang near the front of her house, around 12:30 p.m. ET.

"Before I could get up to check, I heard several bangs at the back and then a bunch of splashing in the pool," she told Up North CBC host Jonathan Pinto.

"I thought maybe there was a car accident or something. A moose never crossed my mind. I have a six-foot [two-metre-high] fence around my whole backyard."

According to her neighbour, the moose bunny-hopped the fence and crash-landed into the pool after fleeing from a car that appeared to be chasing it. Heikkila said the yearling was likely frightened and confused.

"She was big enough that she could keep her head above water and there was maybe five feet [1.5 metres] of water. Her neck and her head were still out."

Heikkila grabbed the phone and called her husband, who told her to call the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

"But I didn't have their phone number. So I called the cops and the lady laughed at me and said, 'No, you need to call the MNR.' And she chimed off a phone number."

The moose was tall enough to hold her head above 1.5 metres of water. She couldn't get herself out of the pool because it was too slippery. (@JesseOshell/Twitter)

Drew a big crowd

After she notified the ministry, Heikkila said, it took them about an hour to make a game plan before they arrived.

"They had me send some pictures of the pool to see what they were up against, and they came about an hour later."

The moose was "super calm" at that point, she said.

"The only time she made noise was when they were throwing the lines into the pool to drain the water." 

About a dozen people from the ministry arrived, along with some police officers and fire department members.

"They had guys here with shotguns in the event that she got out and charged somebody, because she did draw quite a crowd," Heikkila recalled.

"And then it was a matter of just getting the pool pumped down so they could safely tranquillize her without her drowning."

Workers with Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, as well as first responders, showed up to help with hours-long task of safely removing the young moose from the pool. (@JesseOshell/Twitter)

Rescue took several hours

Once tranquillized, the moose was floated toward the shallow end of the pool, as someone held her nose above water with a sling.

"Once they were sure she was out, the guys just hopped in the pool and kind of shimmied her up a ladder system."

The whole process took about 4½ hours.

Heikkila said she sat on the deck and took pictures while her kids watched from the window.

"It was really neat," she said, adding she has since learned the moose didn't sustain any injuries and was safely released into the bush.

The tranquillized yearling is strapped in for transport. She was checked over and successfully released back into the bush later that evening. (@JesseOshell/Twitter)

She can't say the same for her in-ground pool, though. The liner was ripped to shreds. Heikkila said they haven't contacted their insurance company yet.

The strange encounter has given her new insight into the abilities of a moose.

"They can jump really high ... I have a six-foot-high fence. Imagine if a kid was in there," said Heikkila.

"A guy chasing it in a vehicle is what started this. They're wildlife, we're on their property. We're on their territory and we just have to learn to live with them."

Kelsey Heikkila jokingly calls it the biggest party she's had since the pandemic started. Yesterday, a team from Greater Sudbury Fire Services and the Ministry of Natural Resources descended on her backyard in the community of Garson. The reason? A moose trapped in her in-ground pool. Jonathan reached Kelsey to find out more. 7:22

With files from Jonathan Pinto

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