Oh the things Alaskans will do to save wildlife….
At youtube.com you can now watch Alaska Department of Fish and Game wildlife technician Larry Lewis of Soldotna nearly exhaust Tony Lindow of that city in an effort to help out a young bull moose.
The action, according to the video, takes place on Mackey Lake just north of the Kenai Peninsula community of 4,000. Lindow is at the oars of a rowboat when Lewis – Fish and Game’s number-one Kenai cowboy – sets out to free the moose from a tangle of cables around its antlers and neck.
Urban moose regularly manage to get their antlers tangled in wires. Thin-wires, like those on Christmas lights, pose little danger to the 1,000-pound animals. A downtown Anchorage moose nicknamed Buzzwinlke became locally famous for getting his headgear tangled in those sorts of wires almost every holiday season.
But the moose in which Lewis takes off in pursuit doesn’t have Christmas wire wrapped around its head. It’s caught up in some heavy-duty cable complete with pulleys. The cable appears strong enough to potentially strangle the animal or catch on something in the surrounding woods where the moose would either remain to die of starvation or be eaten alive by the local bears, which love moose meat every bit as much of Alaskans.
On seeing the moose’s predicament, Lindow, a big-game guide, contacted Fish and Game and then threw in with Lewis to help save the animal. The men take a few risks on Mackey Lake. A moose could easily overturn a rowboat and dump everyone in the water, but in the end they succeed in saving the animal.
But the story has a happy ending.
“Alright, cool,” Lewis observes at the end. “Good job, man. Good job.”
“Hey, Larry, glad you came out,” Lindow says to a Fish and Game employee who has largely labored out of sight to save wildlife for years.
Former colleague, Rick Sinnott, now retired, on the other became Alaska famous for his efforts to rescue wildlife facing the unique problems of the urban environment. The Christian Science Monitor dubbed him “The moose babysitter” in 2007.
Sinnot, wrote reporter Yereth Rosen, “may have one of the more unusual jobs in America. He’s part moose therapist, part bear chaperone, part goose sergeant, part ambulance driver for hawks….In the midst of his moose-calf rescue, an Anchorage woman calls to thank him for shooting a bear.”
Sinnott’s work attracted a lot of attention because he operated in Alaska’s largest city where there are three television stations, a couple of newspapers, and some radio stations following the news.
Lewis has done the same job for a long time almost unnoticed on the Kenai far from the media spotlight.