A Canadian man’s heroic actions to save a moose calf from a bear attack led to his firing from his job, but Mark Skage has no regrets. The incident happened when he was returning from work in British Columbia and found a moose calf wandering alone on the highway. Skage noticed a black bear nearby waiting for the calf, and he felt he could not leave the animal alone. He rescued the moose calf and put it in the passenger seat of his truck, which led to his firing from AFD Petroleum Inc. Skage’s actions breached the company’s protocols on interactions with wildlife.
Skage’s decision to save the moose calf was an instinctive one. He had noticed the calf on the highway and had already tried to scare it away from the road. However, when the calf kept trying to climb into his truck, he realized that the animal was in danger. He noticed a black bear waiting for the calf about 50 yards away and knew he had to act fast.
Skage put the moose calf in the passenger seat of his truck and contacted his supervisor and the Conservation Officer Service. He communicated with them and drove the calf to safety. The incident happened quickly, and Skage did not have time to think.
Black bears are the biggest predators of moose calves in northern areas where grizzly bears are uncommon. They kill around 40% of all moose calves that were born, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Skage knew this and decided to help the moose calf.
“I know as outdoorsmen, we talk about predator control. Black bears are the number one predator for those calves. So I just thought, ‘Well, I can’t take care of the predator, but I guess maybe I can try and help out this little calf,’” Skage said.
After Skage rescued the moose calf, he was fired by his employer, AFD Petroleum Inc. The company said that his actions breached their policies on interactions with wildlife and put the employee and others at risk. The company also said that Skage should have contacted a conservation officer and allowed the authorities to handle the rescue and relocation of the moose calf.
Skage was not deterred by his firing and stood by his actions. He believed that his decision was the right one and that he had to help the animal.
“The lesson I learned was AFD is okay spilling fuel on the ground but not helping wildlife,” Skage said.
The moose calf, who Skage named Misty, was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center. She will remain there until she is ready to be released back into the wild. Skage’s actions have sparked a debate on social media on whether he was right to rescue the moose calf.
Skage’s actions were illegal, and he himself acknowledged that. He warned against handling or moving wild animals and emphasized the need to report such situations to experts. However, Skage’s actions also highlight the need to balance protocol with humane actions.