A young moose calf was taken to an animal refuge centre in Amos, Quebec after being separated from her mother last June. She was aptly named Hope, as she would surely need some with no mother to teach her the necessary survival techniques for life in the wild.
Conservation officers first encountered Hope’s mother as she made her way into Amos. They noticed she was very stressed and assumed the source of that stress was her proximity to the town. As a result, they helped guide her out of the city.
Shortly after, they found her calf, also looking a little worried, and learned their stress must have been caused by their separation. They brought the calf to the Refuge Pageau in town where she could grow with a little help from her rescuers.
Calves will normally stay with their mothers until the new mating season begins in September. This created concern for Hope’s diet as most moose of her age would still be nursing from their mothers. Even so, it was safest to avoid bottle feeding so that Hope did not become too accustomed to having humans around.
Oddly enough, it was her fear of humans that would enable her to safely transition back into the wild.
They kept Hope in a lushly forested pen about two hectares wide. Without alerting her to their presence, the staff would leave small traces of feed in the pen for Hope.
Upon her release this past November, Hope was sedated during the several kilometre long journey out of town. She was fitted with a tag and a stylish tracker collar before being released. Marie-Frédérique Frigon, a spokesperson for the refuge, told CBC that they know Hope is on the move which is positive.
“We know that winter can be hard for the first year,” Frigon said. “It’s not a win yet — we hope she makes it through the winter and the summer.”
Keep your fingers crossed for Hope as she tackles her first year alone in the wild.