Sometimes, just saying no to government advice can be a very good thing.
Take the case of Wil Graves, an Anchorage, Alaska resident. According to KTUU-TV, Graves was out for a walk by University Lake in Alaska’s biggest city on Tuesday night with his dogs.
That’s when he started hearing some strange noises.
“I was talking on the phone with my friend in Oregon, and I heard a splashing and I said, ‘Tracy, there’s something going on over there,’ and I said ‘that’s a moose and he’s drowning so I’ve gotta hang up,’” Graves said.
The moose had apparently created a large hole in the ice and fallen through; the animal couldn’t get out, try as hard as it could.
Graves, who’s a pharmacist with the Alaska Native Medical Center, called 911.
They transferred him to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
“Cory Stantorf, an assistant area biologist for Fish and Game in Anchorage, said the department always advises the public to avoid encounters with wildlife, even if it means abandoning a helpless animal,” KTUU reported.
However, Graves wasn’t just willing to let the animal drown in the lake.
“You can’t just watch something or somebody suffer and just walk by, even though you know I was expected to,” Graves said.
He wasn’t the only one; a group of people were watching the moose’s plight and wanted to help, but didn’t know what to do.
Graves took action, putting together a team and a rope.
“We got [the rope] around the antlers and started pulling, and then one of the antlers broke off because this time of the year they break off anyway,” Graves said.
“But we were able to — all of us — start pulling at the same time, and we got a little bit at a time, and during that time, Fish and Game actually called me and I was on the phone and pulling with one hand, and they said don’t touch the moose, and I said, too late,” Graves said.
After the moose was taken out of the lake, Graves said, it seemed to be suffering the effects of hypothermia, lying on its side on the ice.
He rushed home to get a blanket and tarp — but that turned out to be unnecessary.
“Fish and Game ended up coming out to check on the moose, but by the time biologists got there, the moose was up and walking,” KTUU reported.
One of the people who helped the moose out — an older lady — reportedly put her coat on top of the animal.
And, yes, officialdom still wouldn’t recommend going about a rescue this way.
“We appreciate that people care about our wildlife in our town, we just don’t want them taking unnecessary risks where they might get hurt,” Stantorf said.
Instead, he said residents should contact either the nearest Fish and Game office or the Alaska Wildlife Troopers.
Obviously, this isn’t something one should be imprudent about. If Graves had jumped into the lake and tried to wrest the moose to shore through the ice, yes, that would have been a poor idea.
However, the likelihood this animal would still be alive if this had gone through Fish and Game or the Wildlife Troopers is anyone’s guess — and Graves, along with a team of good Samaritans, seems to have done this both safely and effectively. It’s proof the government doesn’t always know best.
Although it helps to have someone with the mettle of Wil Graves spearheading the rescue, it’s worth noting.
“You know, for me to walk away or just watch it drown, I’m not going to do that,” Graves said.
“I’m going to do something to help it out. Just give it a chance, I mean, that moose could go off and get eaten by wolves or hit by a car, but at least it’s not going to die that way.”
They say Alaskans are built a little bit differently. This is definitely proof of that.
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