Experience of a Lifetime
If you’ve ever had the chance to encounter a wild animal, then you know how enchanting it can be. One Lithuanian farmer not only got the chance to get up close and personal with a moose, but he also had the chance to save its life. It wasn’t easy, and it would take time, but when all was said and done, he got the best thank you of all time.
Erikas Plucas, a Lithuanian farmer, was following up on daily chores around his farm, nothing out of the ordinary. His farm is located next to a forest so sometimes he gets the chance to witness wild animals in their natural element. But on this day, he got an experience of a lifetime.
He left the farm to run some errands and when he returned home he noticed something lying at the entrance of his gate. At first, it looked like a brown blob, but when he moved closer he knew exactly what it was.
It was a baby moose curled up on the ground, looking helpless. He looked around for a mother, knowing that they can be aggressive to protect their young, but there wasn’t one in sight. The baby was clearly too young to care for itself, and he knew he had to do something and fast.
Realizing that the baby was only about two weeks old, he realized what had probably happened. The area is known for moose hunting, so he assumed that hunters had killed its mother, leaving the baby alone and in danger. Erikas doesn’t believe in hunting these gorgeous animals, especially when they’re caring for young, but it’s an issue that he has seen get worse over time.
The calf appeared to be in pretty bad shape, and it looked like it was on the verge of starvation. She was filthy and had bugs all around her eyes, a clear indication she had been alone for some time. But when Erikas leaned in the grab the baby, she made it very clear she was terrified of him. This rescue wasn’t going to be easy, and the situation was heartbreaking.
Taking Her to Safety
The calf was so weak she couldn’t stand or run away. Although a terrible sight to see, Erikas was able to gently pick her up and take her into his barn. He had never cared for an animal like this before, and he wasn’t sure what to do next. He decided to call animal control but didn’t get much help.
Animal control couldn’t do anything until the following day, and they made it seem like rehabilitating the baby wasn’t something they were interested in. In the meantime, Erikas decided to call some friends for advice, but got even worse news.”‘It is illegal, you should not do it, let nature take care of it’ was all I heard,” Erikas recounted when later interviewed.
He wasn’t about the let this baby die on his watch, but he was up against some obstacles.
He decided to get some milk in a bottle to try and get the baby to eat. He wasn’t sure if it was still solely on milk or starting to eat leaves, so he gathered some of those as well. Luckily, the baby began to nurse and the situation was looking up.
But then, he got some more bad news from animal control.
No One to Help
When animal control came to visit, they explained that they didn’t have the necessary services to care for orphaned wild animals. Usually, they just call local hunters to take the babies, leaving them to a terrible fate. Erikas knew what would happen if a hunter took the moose, and he was unwilling to let that happen. He asked if he could keep her, just to make sure there were no legal issues, and they, surprisingly, agreed.
He was extremely happy, but now the hard work began.
Erikas began feeding the baby every four hours, as that’s what she needed in order to grow big and strong. It was like having a newborn with round the clock care. He decided to name her Emma, as they were slowly becoming a family and it was time she got a name.
Emma stayed in his barn where he knew she would be safe, but she didn’t want to stay there alone. Any time Erikas would go into the house, she would begin screaming.
Scared to Death
Emma was scared to death to be left alone, and Erikas was the only person or animal she trusted. He decided to start sleeping in the barn next to her, so she would feel safe and be able to focus on growing. Not everyone would be so kind and caring as to move into the barn to take care of a baby moose, and Emma could sense how lucky she really was.
She began to love Erikas, so much so she never wanted to leave his side.
Growing up Fast
Emma began growing rapidly, thanks to the TLC Erikas was giving her. He knew that soon she would need to start learning how to be a moose, and not be so dependent on him. It was time for him to teach her how to moose. First things first, she needed to experience the forest.
Teaching Her What’s Safe
Erikas began teaching her what kind of food was best for her to eat as well as showing her what was safe and what was dangerous. She was terrified of the forest surroundings at first, but then it started to grow on her and she got more comfortable exploring.
Soon, she was adventuring out on her own.
Erikas felt like a parent experiencing empty nest syndrome, but he knew it was for the best. After all, Emma was going to have to venture out and find her own family one day. It was nerve wracking at first, but she would always come back at night to sleep at home, for a while that is.
“I remember those first nights that she didn’t come home,” Erikas recounted, “Oh, I barely slept.”
Living Her Best Life
Eventually, Emma stopped returning home to sleep and she called the forest her home permanently. A little heartbreaking at first, but Erikas new this is what all the hard work was for. Although Emma lived in the forest full time as any other regular moose would, she didn’t forget about Erikas.
She would still visit him almost daily.
Best Friends Forever
The bond that Emma and Erikas made is so strong that it will never be broken.”To me, she is gentle and loving. She is very careful when we are playing, so she would not hurt me,” Erikas explained. Luckily, Emma was only interested in Erikas and not other humans. Most other humans she would come in contact with would try to hunt her, and Erikas knew the dangers that were lurking.
Although, the smart and caring man had a plan to help protect Emma, but he didn’t know if it was going to work.
A Genius Plan
As she was a full grown moose now, Erikas knew she looked like a prime target for local hunters. He decided to invite them over to explain that Emma was more than just a meal, but he was nervous for their response.
Luckily, they responded with understanding,”I had some hunters over for them to see her as not just a nice, warm steak with potatoes and vegetables on the table, but as a very intelligent and loving animal,” Erikas explained.
A Change of Heart
All of the hunters agreed not to hunt Emma, as they saw their special bond in real life. Some of them even agreed not to hunt moose anymore, as they realized how intelligent they are. Even more surprising, some of the hunters decided they would never hunt anything, ever again.
The response was truly amazing, and Erikas realized something big was going on here.
A Family of Her Own
Emma was getting to the age where she would soon start becoming interested in starting her own family, and Erikas knew the time was quickly approaching. He was excited at the idea that Emma would some day bring her own baby here to meet him, and he wanted more than ever to protect her.
Emma began showing signs that she was pregnant, meaning Erikas had done a good job at raising her to be a successful adult moose. The bond they share will never be broken, and their time together has changed the lives of many, including the local hunters.
Erikas reflects on the situation, saying,”I’m her world now and she is mine. Sometimes I wonder was it me who saved her, or is it the other way around?”