During a military exercise in the forests of Estonia, a soldier is called to help a furry fellow “citizen” in the middle of a real life and death situation.
Erich Jyri Prikko is a conscripted member of the Estonian Defense Forces and was recently stationed with his colleagues near the shores of Lake Võrtsjärv. There, last week, Prikko decided to venture into the forest in search of, as he put it, an “alternative bathroom”. But then, he heard a different call for help.
“I heard some strange voices that reminded me of a cat or a small child,” Prikko told The Dodo. “I noticed some kind of cute animal coming towards me. At first it looked like some kind of a dog, but pretty quickly I realized it was a little moose trying to tell me something.”
The baby moose was there alone. Not wanting to contribute to the animal’s suffering, Prikko decided to sit down in hopes that the baby moose would wander back to its mother, wherever she was. But instead, something else happened.
“He slowly walked towards me,” Prikko said. “He was quite shy at first, but eventually decided that I seemed to be trustworthy and got very close to me.”
Prikko was taken by surprise – but then the baby moose took it a step further.
“He even tried to find something under my armpit,” Prikko said. Apparently the baby moose had quickly come to think of the soldier as its mother. Prikko couldn’t grant the request, of course, but the hungry cub still seemed soothed by his gentle presence. That’s when Prikko decided to help in another way.
“I called our vet’s office and let them know what happened,” Prikko said. “I wanted to do more for the little calf and I wanted to ask what I should do”
Prikko was told to return the calf to where it was found and monitor the situation. Because of Prikko’s report, a veterinarian was dispatched to the scene with a bottle of milk to feed the baby moose in case its mother never returned.
It was difficult to leave the calf there alone – but the gesture paid off.
Prikko and his unit did their best to avoid disturbing the area in case the calf’s mother was spooked. And sure enough, after hearing a moose call during the night, Prikko returned to the forest and found that the calf was gone.
“We noticed very fresh large moose footprints that indicated the little calf had been rescued by its mother,” Prikko said.
As a soldier, Prikko feels it is his duty to protect the animals as well – and in this case, he has fulfilled this mission perfectly.
“I wanted the calf’s mother to find him and I was very pleased when I found out that they actually found each other.”
A job well done indeed.