Zoe Buchli = Missoulian, Mont.
May 24 – A Missoula firefighter rescues a moose calf in New Mexico last weekend while battling a wildfire.
Missoula Fire Department teams looked for residual heat in the Gascon area of the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fires on Saturday. They came across the calf, which was alone in a bag of badly burned forest, according to a post on Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak fires Facebook page.
“She was lying quietly in a six-inch-deep layer of white ash, surrounded by the black remains of pine trees,” said Missoula firefighter Nate Sink. The crew called it “Cinder”.
Running into wildlife like this is pretty unusual, Zink said in an interview with the Missoulian, but the efforts by locals to get Cinder rehabilitated were incredible.
Firefighters watched her for about an hour, hoping her mother would return. When they found no other adult elk tracks nearby, teams found help along the way in Upper Rociada.
Local farmers knew what to do. Their family veterinarian recommended rehydrating the calf with a mixture of condensed milk and water.
One of the farmers, Lisa Bartley, said their family dog was set on becoming a mother to Cinder.
A local fish and wildlife officer has recommended that Cinder be placed in the care of the New Mexico Wildlife Center in Espanola, New Mexico, the post said.
Cinder is now safe at the Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic.
“She mastered bottle feeding, and a surrogate mother elk at the shelter took up the duties of cleaning and showing love to the little orphan,” the post said.
Cinder will spend about four months at the clinic before being eligible for release in the wild.
The Bartley family said they would be happy to welcome Cinder back to the Upper Rociada area when she is healthy enough to return to nature.
Zinc said Tuesday the crew was on their way home to Missoula after fighting fires in New Mexico for about two weeks.
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