A cow moose was rescued east of Williams Lake Friday by local residents and a conservation officer, after it fell through a frozen pond on a rural property.
Kala Ivens told Black Press Media she spied the moose just as she was leaving their home on the Spokin Lake Road to take her daughter Amara, 4, into town for preschool at about 9:45 a.m.
The pond, which is on their property, isn’t very deep but Ivens could see the moose was totally submerged in the water with her two front legs and head resting on the ice.
Ivens called her husband Daniel and her dad Ed Rowley, as well as the Conservation Officer Service who said they’d received another call about the moose from a neighbour of Ivens.
Conservation officer Chay Keenan-Toop arrived along with Rowley and the three began to figure out the best way to help the moose.
“They did not want to stress her out and started trying to make a path with an axe and an auger – the ice was fairly thick,” Ivens said.
Rowley had a chainsaw and they were hesitant to use it at first, worried it might frighten the moose, but he started it up and she was fine.
Daniel showed up about 45 minutes later and by then Keenan-Toop and Rowley had cut out a hole in the ice and a path, but the moose was too weak to get out on her own.
They tried putting a rope under her back end and pulling her out that way, and when that didn’t work, Daniel got their quad and then they tied a rope around her mid-section and pulled her out using the quad.
“It was pretty neat to watch her just let them do that,” Ivens said.
Once out on the ice, the cow moose rested for about 10 minutes before attempting to stand up.
She fell to the ground and did the splits, rested a few more minutes, then stood up and began munching on some cattails.
Ivens figures she had been in the water for about two hours total.
Since the rescue, the moose has been hanging around on the far side of the pond.
“This was a successful assist and worked out pretty well,” said Len Butler, Insp. of the Thompson Cariboo region B.C. Conservation Officer Services, adding ice rescues can be very dangerous and something the COS service has been involved in more often lately.
Butler said he wanted to thank the locals for assisting Keenan-Toop, who is originally from the Cariboo and had been working in Vanderhoof up until Feb. 1 when he moved back to work out of the Williams Lake office.
Dan Simmons, founder of the Cow Moose Sign Project said the rescue had a very happy ending due to lots of hard work by everyone involved.
“This is such a heartwarming story which people would love to hear right now,” Simmons said.