A moose buried in snow from an avalanche was saved by the hair of his snout—literally.
This past Sunday, Marty Mobley, Rob Uphus, and Avery Vucinich were snowmobiling in Southcentral Alaska when they spotted the moose’s snout and ears sticking out of the dense, packed snow.
An hour earlier, the three men crossed the same path and saw both moose tracks and ski tracks in the snow. When they returned, the tracks had vanished. It was clear to them that an avalanche had come tumbling down and the trio worried that a skier may be trapped in the snow. But when they began searching for the endangered human, what they found was a moose.
“It looked like a guy’s arm at first because we were expecting to see a skier,” Mobley told the Associated Press. “But it was moaning and groaning and moving and we realized it was a moose, even though only his ears and some of its snout was sticking out of the snow.”
Two of the men began shoveling out the moose while the third kept an eye on the towering mountain for another potential avalanche. As the men dug out the moose, it remained calm.
“It didn’t even fight us,” said Mobley. “It was like, ‘Help me. Help me.’ It was totally docile and let us touch it.”
After only 10 minutes of digging, the moose was almost cleared. But the men didn’t know what kind of injuries it might have sustained during the avalanche. If its legs were broken, what would they do next?
Before the men could think of a back-up plan, the moose was on all fours, bolting down the mountain.
“It stood right up and towered over us, because we were in kind of a hole from the digging,” Mobley said. “It looked like the abominable snowman because its fur was so packed with snow and it looked at us, shook the snow off it, and off it went.”
Although it put the men in a dangerous situation—the risk of another avalanche compounded with the threat of a wild moose attack—Mobley said it was their duty to save the moose.
“Besides, we deal with a lot of avalanches and a lot of snow. That kind of karma is something we don’t pass up.”