Ben Clark and Scott Linton were paddling on the Sheep River in Southwestern Alberta when they spotted the unexpected.
The two experienced whitewater kayakers were taking a rest-stop after navigating the technical rapids upstream, when they noticed a moose calf curled up on a cliff shelf opposite them—just barely above river level.
The calf spotted the kayakers almost simultaneously. It stood up, lost its footing, and helplessly fell into the fast-moving water below.
The Sheep River is primarily glacier-fed and can reach frigidly low temperatures during springtime. Cold water aside, Clark knew full well that the calf, if unhelped, was headed straight towards one of the larger rapids on the river. A swim through it could prove fatal.
In late spring, cow moose with young calves are very protective and are known to attack humans who come too close.
Linton waded out into the river while holding onto a throw rope and managed to grab the calf from the flow. With assistance from Clark, he brought the calf to the river’s edge and began to rub it’s body to retain its warmth.
Linton and Clark were quick to leave the scene after their rescue success. “The calf walked up into the sun and started to call for mom so we got the heck outta there,” said Clark.
Footage credit: Ben Clark// @theleagueofbeautifulminds