A baby moose that lost its mother found a happy ending despite four harrowing, hungry days on its own in New Brunswick, Canada.
Margaret Williston found the baby moose distraught, crying, and hungry on her property near Miramichi on Thursday, May 20.
A car had spooked the baby’s mother at Hortons Creek Road, leaving the calf to fend for itself.
Wanting to help the helpless baby, Williston contacted the Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development, which told her there was no other option but to leave it be—stressed and starving—or put it down, CBC News reported.
The baby, desperate for food, came right up to Williston’s front door and followed her around “like a puppy.”
“It even came up my steps trying to get in,” Williston told the national news outlet. “It’s so hungry.”
She added, “It’ll come over and try to attach itself to you looking for a nipple.”
She and her husband tried bringing the calf back to the creek in the hope of reuniting it with its mother; but within a few hours, the baby had returned to their property.
She contacted the Atlantic Wildlife Institute, who rehabilitate lost animals, but they were also unable to help; such cases must be directed to the Province, they said.
“It’s frustrating to have to give an answer that you can’t help when you know you have the capacity to help,” Barry Rothfuss, director of the institute, told CBC, adding that they get a dozen or more such calls each year.
Eventually, Williston went ahead and gave the baby some milk anyway to alleviate its hunger.
“I know you’re not supposed to but I can’t just let it starve to death in front of me. It’s been three days now,” she said. “This baby is getting weaker by the minute and it’s so heartbreaking.”
After four trying days, the couple returned to the creek with the baby in tow, and after four hours of waiting, spotted another moose calf and its mother. The baby cried out, and the adult responded. She allowed the lost calf to come near, sniff, and eventually suckle.
“We were left teary-eyed, but they were good tears,” Williston said.
“Whether that was her mother and she had twins or not, it seems to have taken it in, and it’s amazing how animals will take in an orphan and never once think of putting it down.”
It was not clear whether the adult moose was the baby’s mother, or if maternal instinct simply led to the tender adoption.
It was, however, a relief for one very concerned local woman.