It’s just human nature to want to help an animal in distress, like the guy who was captured in a now-viral video rescuing a rabbit from a wildfire in Ventura last month. But it’s one thing to rescue a rabbit or a cat or some other small critter, and quite another to rescue a full-grown elk, which can weigh in at well more than 700 lbs.
A story now making the rounds involves just such a rescue, except it wasn’t just one elk, but an entire herd! In the early morning hours of December 29, some passersby noticed up to 13 elk – including a couple calves – were in a jam.
They’d apparently been trying to cross a frozen river in Alpine, Wyoming, near Yellowstone National Park, when the ice broke under their weight and they became trapped. Dozens of Good Samaritans, including locals and emergency officials, witnessed their plight and jumped into action.
Rallying their resources together, they cut through the ice and created a pathway for the elk to make their escape. No one knows how long the elk had been foundering in the water, which was up to 10 feet deep in some places, but they were clearly exhausted. And so cold, they couldn’t move.
Undaunted, the rescuers risked life and limb to aid in their escape.
The video below shows the rescuers standing next to one of the elk, who manages to struggle to its feet and leap across the channel they created to the other bank. Several men remove a rope from around its neck while another group works to pull another wildly thrashing elk out of the water and onto solid ground.
Gary Fralick, a wildlife biologist with Wyoming Fish and Game, said without so many helping hands, “many more elk would have died. People were trying to pull elk out of the water while people were sawing through ice to make a pathway to the shoreline. It was a big team effort to try and get them out of the ice.”
The rescuers initially questioned whether the two calves would survive the ordeal. But they were scooped up in a backhoe and driven to a nearby feeding ground – where the herd is believed to have been traveling when they fell through the ice – and they were able to walk away with the rest of the herd.
Watch the heroic rescue in the clip below. Share to spread happiness that this story has a happy ending!
Getting the last 2 elk out….what an amazing start to this day! All elk survived. Great to see the community come together and help these animals?
Posted by Dusty Jones on Friday, December 29, 2017