Joan Larsen Presents: Winter Rescue – Luckiest Moose in the World

Posted on February 18, 2015

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By Joan Larsen

Photo: Uralhelicom

Photo: Uralhelicom

2-map-moose-v2It is a frozen winter in the higher altitudes of our world. From the vantage point of a helicopter, flying over the frozen taiga of northern Russia, the three passengers only saw below what was ice and snow. But then – then – one man spotted an animal struggling – a large moose who had fallen through the thinning ice of a frozen swamp and was trapped almost below the surface.

The bond of these men was strong. In one instant, they agreed to land and attempt to save the struggling animal. . . if they could. The photos (below) would tell a story that words could not. This was not to be easy as this pregnant female moose weighed about 1,350 pounds, requiring strength and coordination and fast action.

It was to be a struggle against time and the elements.

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Photo: Uralhelicom

 

The pilot – an employee of a helicopter import and service company – flew back to the base for ropes and harnesses… and quickly returned. In a slow-motion drama unfolding, three men – with another recording the rescue – gradually pulled the moose out of the ice hole, one leg at a time.

Photos: Uralhelicom

Photos: Uralhelicom

But the story was not at its end. The moose, so frozen from what was later estimated to be about 20 hours in the water, was now on snow, but unable to move a limb.

Photo: Uralhelicom

Photo: Uralhelicom

“Get her moving, she’s got cramps”, one rescuer said. There were few photos after that. The men began to physically massage the moose again and again, covering her with jackets to warm her. The scene was one of extreme compassion and caring. With teamwork beyond the norm, leg by leg, the moose – now named Manka by the men – was able to stand.

Photo: Uralhelicom

Photo: Uralhelicom

Photo: Uralhelicom

Photo: Uralhelicom

A bright blue ribbon was placed around Manka’s neck. From above, the men in the helicopter watched as the moose clambered at first, but then found her footing and began to walk away.

Photo: Uralhelicom

Photo: Uralhelicom

Five days later, she was seen from the air – her blue ribbon clearly visible – and in apparent good health.

The four men had saved the life of this moose. They now felt attached to her, hoping the best for her future. The team planned to find Manka once again later in the year, hoping to be able to film her giving birth to new life.

What a beautifully fitting ending to the many acts of kindness given by the men in this frozen land this should be.

A story to be remembered…

 

The love for all living creatures is

the most noble attribute of man.

 — Charles Darwin

 

 

JoanAvatar2Writer Joan Larsen has spent a lifetime searching for the most remote places on Earth.  But it is the polar regions of our world that she has been drawn back to again and again.  She has done research in these lands of ice, and considers Antarctica to be her “other home.”

 

 

 

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