‘A Christmas miracle’: WDFW officers rescue moose stuck in frozen lake for hours




A mother moose got stuck in a frozen pond in rural Spokane County while its calf waited nearby. (KXLY)

SPOKANE, Wash. — Homeowners in Elk caught a crisis on camera when a moose fell through icy water as its baby watched helplessly from the shore, and rescuers jumped into action.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife says these incidents happen often during the winter. Sometimes, the animals can get out on their own. Other times, they can’t. Safety is always the priority for officers. They won’t risk a person’s life for a rescue but will always go the extra mile to save an animal if they can.

The Gilbert’s watched the miraculous rescue unfold from their back porch.

“It was tense,” said Paula Pershall-Gilbert. She spotted the moose with her husband, Bill, and immediately called for rescuers.

The tension mounted by the minute. The mama moose was trying her hardest to stay afloat as its baby calf waited nearby and never left the area.

“It was so hard. It was just prayerful, all the time,” she added.

As they watched rescuers work, they prayed for a miracle.

“We typically don’t do a lot of rescuing animals out of the ice because it’s too risky for human safety,” said Severin Erickson, an officer with WDFW.

The conditions came together, and it was safe enough for officers to try as Pend Oreille firefighters watched nearby to make sure no one fell in.

It took over five hours, numerous lassos and all the strength they had to pull this moose to shore. It recovered in Officer Erickson’s arms for a bit and was back on her feet soon after.

“It’s a Christmas miracle at our house,” Gilbert concluded.

No one is taking this rescue for granted, and we shouldn’t either. Officers say, you should never try to help an animal on your own in a situation like this.

This rescue could have had a different ending if safety wasn’t the driving force.

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