A community effort was made to reunite a separated moose and calf near Lacombe last week.   

Central Albertans driving by a local farm saw the moose and approximately a one-week-old calf in distress in a field, separated by a fence and stopped at the nearby farm.   

The landowner opened the gate further down on the property, hoping that the pair would wander down the property and find the opening. 

Colleen MacLean observed the pair to see if they would find the gate opening, but eventually took to social media asking for advice.  

“It was a community effort. We had a few folks stop into our yard and let us know in case we weren't already aware,” MacLean said. “We assessed the situation, but we didn’t have the experience to deal with that kind of situation and we definitely didn't want to anger or distress the mother any further than she already was.”   

With help from Lacombe and area residents in a local Facebook group, a Fish and Wildlife officer came to the property to help.   

Erik Von Platen, Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services Sergeant for the Camrose District, said receiving this type of call is common, especially during calving season.  

“This area was seeded, so nobody was out there making a lot of noise so the cow most likely felt safe to have her calf there,” Von Platen said.  

To reunite the calf with the moose, Von Platen and MacLean’s husband cornered the calf along the fence line.   

“I just ran up there, grabbed it, and picked it up. The cow stepped away from the fence and it gave me a few seconds to heave the calf up and over and set it down on the other side before it ran off,” Von Platen said. “They couldn't go underneath or over top, so I had to pick it up and put it over top of the fence and drop it on the ground on the other side.”  

MacLean believes the moose and calf were separated for nearly eight hours.   

She explained that the moose potentially wouldn’t have figured out how to reunite with the calf, because she appeared to be a very young mother.   

“Sometimes wildlife does need a little bit of help to deal with man-made situations,” MacLean said.   

She added that the moose jumped the fence thinking the calf would follow, but when it didn’t, she didn’t have the instinct to jump back over the fence.   

“It was a happy ending to a situation that was quite stressful. They were definitely in distress because she kept pacing back and forth,” MacLean said.   

 Von Platen urges any Central Albertans who find separated or abandoned wildlife to contact fish and wildlife at 1-800-642-3800, and let an officer assess the situation, and determine the best solution.   

“The biggest thing for me personally is let us make the judgment call on what we're going to do with the situation. Especially if we find abandoned wildlife, let us make the determination on what's going to be done, if it's going to be picked up, or if it's going to be brought to a rehab centre,” Von Platen said. “We know generally that everybody's acting in good faith, but we don't want fawns and calves being picked up or moved when it's not necessary.”