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Elk rescued from icy waters of Bow River in Banff

WATCH ABOVE: An elk is rescued from the icy waters of the Bow River in Banff, Alta.

The dramatic rescue of an elk from the icy waters of the Bow River in Banff earlier this week was captured on video, and drew quite the crowd.

On Wednesday, Parks Canada team members were called to an area of the river near the pedestrian bridge, after an elk fell into the water.

The rescue was captured on video and posted on X by user @FernieMariam.

The series of videos shows the animal struggling in its efforts to get out of the water.

Parks Canada staff members are then seen carefully walking out onto the ice surface, using a tow strap to attempt to pull the elk to safety. After a couple of failed attempts, the rescuers retreat back to the shore.

They then come back, using a chainsaw to cut through the ice before using their body weight to break through. This makes it a bit easier for the elk to pull itself out of the water.

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The rescuers then use the strap to scoot the animal closer to shore, before he safely trots off as applause breaks out from the onlookers.

“The safety of staff and wildlife is a priority and Parks Canada is please that this incident has a positive ending,” Parks Canada said in a statement Thursday.

The rescue efforts drew quite the crowd along the Bow’s shore and along the pedestrian bridge.

Elk and other animals often fall through the ice on the Bow River in the spring and fall, according to Parks Canada.

“This is a natural occurrence,” the federal agency said. “If you see a distressed animal on thin ice, never attempt to rescue the animal or interfere in any way.”

Anyone who sees an animal in distress is asked to immediately call Banff dispatch at 403-762-1470.

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