Alaska man helps trapped and shrieking baby moose — while avoiding its mama

As It Happens6:30Alaska man helps trapped and shrieking baby moose — while avoiding its mama

When Spencer Warren pulled up at work on Friday morning, he heard a strange, high-pitched creaking sound from the nearby lake. 

“I’m used to the animals on the lake, and I said, ‘That’s an odd sounding bird,'” said Warren, a pilot-in-training at Destination Alaska Adventure Co, a charter tourism company near Beluga Lake in Homer, Alaska. “But to my surprise, it wasn’t.”

When he followed the shrieks, he found a frightened baby moose, trapped in the lake between the dock and one of the company’s floatplanes.

“He couldn’t get out,” Warren told As It Happens host Nil Köksal. “He was stuck right in there.”

‘Alright, where’s mama?’

Warren was worried about the little moose, but freeing it wasn’t his most immediate concern. 

“The first thing that popped into my head was, ‘Alright, where’s mama?” he said. “I turned to my right, and there she was, coming right at me.”

WATCH | Alaskan baby moose rescue: 

As an Alaskan, Warren is well aware that a moose encounter — especially with a protective mother — can quickly turn dangerous, if not deadly.

“It wasn’t quite a charge, but her ears were pinned back, and she was making it known that she wasn’t happy about me being in the area,” Warren said. “I was like, yeah, I’m not dealing with a mama moose today.”

So he quickly moved behind a nearby shed, keeping it between himself and the moose, then carved a winding path back to his car, weaving behind other parked vehicles to make sure he was never in her direct path.

Once safely inside his vehicle, he called his boss, who called the police. 

Homer Police arrived on the scene, and Warren and an officer pulled the calf free. (Spencer Warren/The Associated Press)

By the time the officers arrived 15 minutes later, Warren says the mother moose had wandered a bit farther away, likely to protect her other calf. 

One officer positioned his police cruiser between the moose and the floatplane, allowing Warren and another officer to tend to the calf out the mother’s line of sight, Homer Police Lt. Ryan Browning said. 

“The officer actually kind of just grabbed it by the scruff of its neck, and I got its rear end a little bit,” Warren said. “We just lifted him straight out. He wasn’t tangled in anything. He was just wedged.”

The rescue, while straightforward, wasn’t without its challenges.

“A waterlogged moose isn’t light,” Warren said.

An adult moose and a baby moose standing in some bushes near an American flag
The moose family stuck around Warren’s workplace for awhile after the rescue. Here, the mama moose licks her newly freed calf. (Spencer Warren/The Associated Press)

Once free, the calf appeared frightened and was quivering from the cold, Warren said. But, overall, it was no worse for wear.

“He was definitely shaken up. I think he had been there for several hours. All the energy was completely gone,” Warren said. “Poor little guy.”

But once it got its bearings, the calf found his way back to its mother and sibling for a family reunion.

“Anytime you can rescue a little critter, it always makes you feel good,” Browning said.

After the rescue, the moose family stuck around Warren’s workplace for awhile as the rescued calf took a nice, long nap on the porch.

The furry family has since wandered off into the wilderness, Warren said.

But Warren’s co-workers haven’t let up about all the attention he’s been getting — especially since they’re the ones fielding calls all day from reporters.

“They’re describing themselves as my personal secretary now,” he said with a laugh. “I show up and they’re like, what’s up, Moose?”

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