Unfortunately, as forest fire season beings, so does the season in which so many different calves, pups, chicks, and more are born. For many, that may mean losing their mothers, families, and their lives, but this newborn elk calf, abandoned in the ashes of the New Mexican forest fire, has been given the opportunity to live a full life thanks to the Missoula Firefighters.
Though, according to NPR, it’s generally discouraged to interact with young elk calves, as it’s entirely possible the mother is off foraging, Missoula, Montana based firefighter Nate Sink explains that he did in fact search the area for traces of the mother and did confirm that the calf was abandoned.
“I learned today that it’s common for cow elk to abandon their calves when stressed, during a fire for instance. This morning while patrolling a burned area I came across a malnourished and lethargic calf elk. I carried her out to the engine and thanks to @lisab8181 was able to connect this sweet girl to a Veterinarian that specializes in rehabilitating wild animals, especially elk! The most incredible outcome for such an incredible day!” – Nate Sink via Missoula Firefighters IAFF 271 on Instagram
The calf, now named “Cinder”, has been paired with a surrogate adult elk with the intention of allowing him to mature with little to no human contact. He’s currently regaining his strength at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Espanola, New Mexico.
Image Credit: Missoula Firefighters IAFF 271 on Instagram