Group Effort Saves the Lives of Two Moose Calves
Prince George, B.C. – Two newborn moose calves are resting comfortably in a wildlife shelter in Smithers following an improbable rescue in Prince George over the weekend.
Dr. Roy Rea, a biology and forestry lab instructor at UNBC who specializes in wildlife-vehicular collisions, says it all started following a text message he received early Saturday morning.
He says it was from Angelika Langen, co-owner of Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter, an organization that specializes in nursing abandoned animals back to health, and one he’s been working with for years.
“She texted me and said ‘Roy, we’ve got some moose calves that have been spotted up on Northwood Pulpmill Road last night,’ and this was at about 7:30 or 8 o’clock in the morning,” says Rea.
“She gave me the number of the lady that reported it and asked me to contact her to help find the calves.”
Ironically, Rea said “that lady,” turned out to be one of his students – Amanda Mjolsness – who, along with her sister Melissa, put up some blue ribbon on the road where they had seen the calves Friday night.
He says he then drove to where the blue ribbon was located, stopped his truck and determined the cow moose had been hit by a car. A man in a house across the road said it had been hit a couple of days prior and had since been picked up by city crews.
“Meaning the calves had probably been without their mom for a couple of days and with the increasing temperatures they were probably having a rough time and were likely in dire straits.”
Around two hours into his search in the swamp on the north side of the road, Rea says a man stopped by to ask him what he was up to. Astonishingly he says that man turned out to be Joe Myatovic, the man who built his house.
He said he asked Joe if he had a dog that could help sniff the two moose calves out who in turn recommended his brother Phil.
Rea phoned Phil who said “he happened to be heading out my way because his mother owns Cariboo Growers, which was right where the cow moose had been hit and said he’d have a look on the property, but without the dog.”
Rea – who had to meet with a contractor – says Phil called just after lunch with news he’d found the two calves (a 29 pound male and a 26.5 pound female).
“He said I’m pretty sure one of them is dead and one of them is still alive, can you come?”
Rea raced back to meet Phil and retrieve the calves – and miraculously both were still alive.
“Phil and I approached them cautiously, but they didn’t move, you could tell they were having a tough time. Phil and I each grabbed one and put them in a kennel I had brought and I took them to the Ospika Animal Hospital.”
“Angelika had coordinated that the hospital would take care of them. So, we took them there, got them some IV fluids and they really started to perk up.”
Following that, Rea says he took them to just this side of Burns Lake, where he met up with members of the Northern Lights rescue team who came from Smithers to meet him half way with milk. They connected on the side of a logging road they were immediately given bottles – and a new lease on life.
“It looks good. They’ve got diarrhea right now which is pretty typical for calves’ that have been without their mothers for a couple of days because they’re brand new, they’re probably just four of five days old.
“They’re on artificial moose formula and they’re giving them stool hardener but the calves are doing well and it’s looking good.”
He says if not for the coordinated rescue, the calves would have surely died on Saturday.
“They would have been gone so I think there’s a couple of heroes in this story. The planets really had to line up for all this to happen,” says Rea.
“It’s just weird that Joe Myatovic stopped by and asked me what I was up to and that his brother was on his way to where we were and that his mother owned the property where we found the calves. And I think Amanda who called it in and Phil who spent a couple of hours looking for them, those are the real heroes here.
As for Rea’s role in all of this?
“I was just the quarter-back and all the team players came together and it just all worked out really slick.”