Rescued moose calves being cared for in Moose Jaw

Rescued moose calves being cared for in Moose Jaw
Two moose calves are calling the friendly city of Moose Jaw home after being rescued from the Estevan and Kenaston areas after their mothers died.

The pair is being cared for at Wild & Cared Free Wildlife Rehabilitation Inc., which was started by veterinarian Melanie Blager about nine years ago.

The veterinarian originally started the facility to take care of songbirds, but over the years she’s taken in everything from squirrels to owls, deer – and now moose.

“I was pretty excited but I’ve heard stories of how hard they could be so I was pretty nervous about how they were going to do,” Blager explained. “They definitely have their challenges, their guts are a little sensitive so one is doing super well and the other is not liking the milk quite so much. So we’re working hard to get them both healthy.”

In about a week they will move from their stall inside the barn to a bigger pasture outside, where they will be kept away from human contact until they’re ready to be released back into the wild next spring.

But rescuing moose calves is not common in Saskatchewan, with only a handful happening each year.

“Their parents when they’re little leave them in place because they can’t keep up, so most of the time those babies are not actually orphaned,” Blager said.

When Blager started she was rescuing around 35 animals a year, but over the years she says it’s not uncommon to now see up to 300 animals come through the facility a year.

“The more we grow our cities the more we build our acreages, the more we’re filling up the land and losing our natural grasslands, the more we’re impacting the wildlife all around us,” she said. “It’s leading to animals getting hit by cars, animals starving, it’s leading to animals getting injured and then people who just don’t know better who have moved or removed in some way a parent and left a nest of babies behind.”

Through her facility and with her husband by her side, Blager is hoping to educate and possibly one day expand.

“I have tremendous admiration for what she’s doing,” her husband Brent Blager said. “I’m a big dreamer, but I’d like to see a really modern sort of centre out here with a building with all the facilities that she needs to look after these guys.”

But with limiting funding available in the province, the Blager’s have started a Go Fund Me page and are accepting branches with leaves to help feed the calves.
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