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Alberta wildlife officials rescue elk trapped in icy swamp

Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officers work to free two elk trapped in ice. Facebook/Alberta Fish and Wildlife

Two elk trapped after falling through ice in an Alberta slough got a second shot at life, thanks to the quick action of a passerby and a pair of Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers.

In a post on its Facebook page, the department said last month, officers received a call from a woman who saw two elk who had fallen through the ice in a swamp along Highway 2 near Highway 13.

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When the officers got to the scene, they found the two elk standing in holes about 100 yards from the highway.

An elk stuck in an icy slough in Alberta was rescued by Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers and a passerby. Facebook/Alberta Fish and Wildlife

The officers and the woman who spotted the elk spent the morning using shovels and axes to break up the ice, eventually creating a pathway that led to a field.

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“Within an hour, the elk found their way out of the ice and retreated safely into the field,” the department said.

Officials said it’s not common for animals to fall through ice and get trapped like this, but it can happen sometimes when the ice starts to thaw.

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“Both elk were very exhausted, and if quick action wasn’t taken, the elk probably would have died due to hypothermia or exhaustion,” the department said in its post.

“The elk are safe and well, and it was definitely a team effort that led to the success of this situation.”

Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officers work to free two elk trapped in ice. Facebook/Alberta Fish and Wildlife

Alberta Fish and Wildlife said while the best thing to do for a wild animal is to leave them alone and let them heal on their own, in emergency situations, it can be best to intervene.

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“There are wildlife emergencies such as these where officers can respond and help wildlife,” the department said.

READ MORE: Calgary wildlife officer uses shotgun to free deer who locked antlers

Anyone who encounters wildlife that appear to be in distress are encouraged to contact the Report a Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800. They’re also encouraged to keep a safe distance from the affected animal until officers can arrive, as sometimes animals in distress can be aggressive.

Two elk were found stuck in ice in a slough along an Alberta highway. Facebook/Alberta Fish and Wildlife

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