Moose rescued by a nose isn't happy about it

Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The cow moose really didn't like being pulled out of the Chena River by its nose.

But while that novel approach by a rescue party from the Alaska State Troopers didn't win the moose's appreciation, all parties ended up safe after Wednesday's incident.

Four troopers were dispatched after local resident Gail Flodin spotted the 1,200-pound moose struggling to keep its nose above water after breaking through the ice.

''She would kind of keep heaving herself up,'' Flodin said. ''I thought she was going to be fox food before too long.''

But instead, Fish and Wildlife Protection Trooper Justin Lindell arrived and headed out onto the river ice carrying a rescue implement and a new technique.

The implement was a long stick with a rope at the end tied into a noose. The technique was slipping the noose over the moose's snout, instead of around the animal's neck.

''We decided to try to put the noose around the nose instead of the neck so we didn't choke the moose,'' Lindell said.

Once Lindell had noose secured on snout, troopers on shore tied the other end of the rope to a snowmachine belonging to a man who stopped to help.

Aided by the tug of the machine, the group was able to get the moose out of the water.

Lindell said his next move was to run toward shore.

''It got mad at me,'' he said.

Although the moose had been in the frigid water for more than an hour, rescuers figured it was going to be OK once the animal stood up and walked to shore.

''When a moose falls through the ice, they usually don't make it out,'' said Lindell, who estimated the entire rescue effort took about 15 minutes.

Other moose have gone through the ice in the same area, Lindell said. He figures there's a small hot spring or some other phenomenon that weakens the ice there. The rest of that stretch of river was solid, he said, so he had no worries about walking on it to put the noose around the moose's snout.

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