A Canadian man claims he was fired from his job at a fuel supplier when he helped rescue a desperate moose calf from a potential black bear attack.
Mark Skage, who worked for AFD Petroleum Inc., was driving back from a job site when he saw the abandoned moose wandering on the side of the road in British Columbia, Canada on June 6.
As he pulled over and hopped out of his vehicle, the calf attempted to climb into his truck as Skage noticed a bear stalking the “few day old” animal.
“There was a black bear 50 yards away from her just waiting,” Skage said in a Facebook post.
“I made a decision at the time after she kept (trying) to climb into the work truck that I couldn’t just leave her there. So I stuck her in the passenger side and drove to town to get her some help,” Skage added.
Skage’s decision to bring the calf into his truck comes from his background as an outdoorsman and he knew that doing so was against the law.
“I just couldn’t do it, in my heart. People can say all they want. 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 told CBC News.
“It is against the law to pick up wild animals off the road or from out in nature, anywhere. It is illegal to be in possession of wildlife and transport wildlife,” he told the outlet.
With the calf riding shotgun in his truck, Skage called his supervisor and the local Conservation Officer about his predicament before he named the moose Misty and found a rehab center to look after her until she was ready to be released.
“A few days later Misty (that’s what I called her) got a ride to a rehab center a little farther south where they will let her grow up a bit before releasing her back into the wild,” his post read.
Skage thought everything would be over but his company AFD Petroleum had a problem with his wildlife rescue.
“All is well right? NOPE. AFD felt different and figured I was in grievous conflict with their wildlife policies. (they had never taken the time to know my background),” he said.
Both the black and grizzly bear, along with wolves, are large predators of moose calves in Interior Alaska and Northern Canada and make up a large portion of calf deaths.
“Black bears have been found to be the most important predator of moose calves in some areas of Alaska where grizzly bears are uncommon. In these areas, black bears killed about 40% of all moose calves that were born. Most predation was by adult males,” according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
“Anyway to wrap up they did decide given all their options that letting me go was the best thing. So the lesson I learned was AFD is ok spilling fuel on the ground but not helping wildlife,” Skage concluded.
The AFD condemned Skage’s rescue, saying he should’ve called the conservation officer and allowed trained wildlife officials to handle relocate Misty.
“Instead of reporting the situation to a conservation officer and allowing the authorities to handle the rescue and relocation of the moose, the individual made the independent decision to transport an uninjured moose calf, a wild animal, in the front seat of his company vehicle for many hours,” said AFD Petroleum president Dale Reimer according to CBC.
“This not only put the employee and other road users at risk but also potentially caused distress and harm to the moose.”