I still remember the first time I came around a corner in my canoe and saw a larger than life moose staring us down. The moose was majestic, beautiful and powerful and I was in awe. That isn’t an unusual sight for back country paddlers in Canada, but what happened to Bonnie Couchie and Gord Martin earlier this month is quite extraordinary.
Couchie and Martin run a tour company in Pic River First Nation in northern Ontario. They were out canoeing in early June when they came across two baby moose, “the tiniest moose I’ve ever seen”, Couchie told the CBC. Couchie and Martin quickly realized that the moose were struggling to get out of the water at a steep bank and their mom was nowhere to be seen.
On the blog for their tour company, Couchie described what happened and included photographs of the whole adventure.
The high water was great for cruising along in the canoes, but upon rounding a tight corner in the river we came across two twin moose calves that were struggling. They had been caught in the fast cold water and were stranded against a steep, muddy bank. Hypothermia and fear had set in, and they were unable to swim or climb out.
In an interview with CBC, Couchie described how Martin rescued the two moose. One of them was able to swim to safety with a little assistance, but the other one was too weak. Martin had to help the weaker one into the canoe and bring it to shore. Once they got out of the canoe, Martin realized the moose was too weak and run down to continue. He helped the moose to dry off and regain its strength and helped it to reunite with its sibling.
When speaking to the CBC, Couchie described the immediate bond that developed between Martin and the moose, with the pair both looking at each other lovingly and sharing an amazing moment together. However, Martin knew he needed to break that bond and encourage the moose to continue on with its sibling, despite the fact that his dream had always been to have a pet moose.
On their blog, they wrote about leaving the moose:
Quickly jumping into the canoe and with a few splashes of water in the direction of the calf, we were able to get far enough away so she stayed put. Her twin had also returned by this time. I don’t know what happened to them. We did all we could do to help and at the very least they weren’t caught in the cold, fast water. I wonder if we would recognize each other if we meet again. I will be back on that section of river soon. I hope we see them.
Couchie and Martin are not sure if the two baby moose reunited with their mother, but they hope that they did find her and that the two are doing well.
Photo credit: ****u**** on flickr