Incredible moose rescue in Northern BC

One of the highlights of my job at WWF-Canada is that I get to chat to Canadians about their experiences with nature and the outdoors.  With the recent sweeping reforms to the way we now protect Canada’s wildlife, this month hasn’t been so uplifting, but this week I was surprised and pleased to get an email  from Chris Gale of Fort Nelson, BC who sent us this incredible story.

Chris Gale, an amateur photographer after he and his friends rescued this moose from an icy lake. © Chris Gale / Northern Photography / WWF-Canada

On May 10, Chris and his friends Ryan Ellingson, Jason Diemert, and Matthew Burton, were driving up the Alaska Highway, en route to the Kechicka River in Northern British Columbia when they spotted a number of vehicles and a commotion at the side of the road.
Beside a beautiful jade green lake in Muncho Lake Provincial Park, the men pulled their vehicle over – expecting to see a motor vehicle accident – but instead saw the head of a moose, struggling to stay afloat in the icy water.

The moose, trapped in the ice. © Chris Gale / Northern Photography / WWF-Canada

Thinking quickly, the group gathered rope, a chainsaw, and whatever other tools they had in their car in hopes that they could help the moose. After talking to the group of bystanders who had begun to chip away at the ice around the moose, they discovered that the animal had already been struggling for over an hour.

Matthew Burton, attempting to pull the moose from the water. © Chris Gale / Northern Photography / WWF-Canada

Matthew came up with the idea to tie a rope around his own waist, then venture out onto the thin ice to lasso the moose and drag the animal up a makeshift wooden ramp onto firmer ice.

© Chris Gale / Northern Photography / WWF-Canada

“It took about three tries to get the lasso around the moose,” said Chris. “And the ramp wasn’t very sturdy. We could see the ice move with every step the animal took.”
With Matthew’s help, the moose was nearly emerged from the water but then slipped on the plank and fell back in.

© Chris Gale / Northern Photography / WWF-Canada

Realizing they needed a bit of extra strength, they recruited more volunteers and with the help of truck drivers and other passersby, the men were able to finally pull the exhausted moose to safety.

© Chris Gale / Northern Photography / WWF-Canada

© Chris Gale / Northern Photography / WWF-Canada

“The moose didn’t seem scared of us at all,” recalls Chris. “After we cut the rope off, he just trotted off into the mountains. Before he disappeared out of sight he stopped and looked back at us – it was almost as though he was saying ‘thanks’.

© Chris Gale / Northern Photography / WWF-Canada

Gale is an amateur photographer who just happened to have his camera with him at the time of the rescue. To check out more of his wildlife photography, visit his Facebook page.
Gale and his team were also featured on CTV news for their effortsMoose Rescue – CTV News