It was meant to be a day of relaxation with friends in their kayaks. It evolved into a real-life rescue story and one that will remain with them the rest of their lives, especially for a young elk calf.
Friends gathered on the Smoky River with their watercrafts about 300 miles north and west of Edmonton in northwest Alberta. As they floated along, they noticed a calf on the edge of the river, but it was not moving. When they paddled to take a closer look, they could see why.
“He was pretty tired and super quiet,” Curtis Stewart told CTV News Edmonton. “When I first got out of my kayak, I sunk down just about to my hips in the mud. So, I could right away understand how stuck the little guy was.”
That’s when the team, which grew to seven people, sprang into action. They used their hands to dig deep into the mud, eventually freeing the elk and then carried it up the riverbank and placed it on the ground. Two of them hiked to that spot a few days later and saw no sign of the calf.
“We found lots of hoof prints around, so we’re hoping that the mom came and found it. We’re optimistic,” Stewart told CTV News Edmonton.
Go here to see a media report about the rescue.
(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation – not the calf mentioned above)