Canadian ‘hero’ FIRED for saving baby moose from potential bear attack: ‘I couldn’t just leave her there’

A Canadian man says he is out of a job after he rescued a baby moose from speeding cars and a potential black bear attack in violation of his employer’s wildlife protocols.

“I couldn’t just leave her there,” Mark Skage wrote in a Facebook post.

Skage was on a long ride “back to town while working” when he spotted the “few day old baby cow calf moose alone on the highway” with no mama moose in sight — and, to make matters worse, “there was a black bear 50yrds away from her just waitin.”

The little calf was nearly hit by passing cars, so Skage decided to pull over and try to scare it away from the road.

But “Misty,” as he now calls her, had other ideas.

Instead of running off, the calf kept trying to jump into his truck.

“I made a decision at the time after she kept tryin to climb into the work truck that I couldn’t just leave her there,” Skage wrote on Facebook. “So I stuck her in the passenger side and drove to town to get her some help.”

An employee of AFD Petroleum Inc., Skage said he “communicated with my supervisor as well as the CO service before luckily findin a spot for her to stay for a few days,” adding, “thanks again to the person with the big heart. You know who you are.”

“A few days later Misty… got a ride to a rehab center a little farther south where they will let her grow up a bit before releasin her back into the wild,” he wrote.

According to CBC News, “The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says in areas in the north where grizzly bears are uncommon, black bears have been known to kill up to 40 percent of moose calves.”

“I just couldn’t do it, in my heart,” Skage told the outlet of the idea of leaving the baby for possible bear food. “People can say all they want. I know as outdoorsmen, we talk about predator control. … Black bears are the number one predator for those calves. So I just thought, ‘Well, I can’t take care of the predator, but I guess maybe I can try and help out this little calf.'”

(Video: CBC News)

Often, Skage acknowledged, the best decision in situations such as the one in which he found himself is to allow nature, no matter how brutal, to take its course. But, after waiting to see if the mother would show, he feels he made the right call in trying to rescue the calf — a choice of which he was even more certain when he later found out that his little hitchhiker was a girl.

“It wasn’t just one moose calf that God saved,” Skage told CBC News. “It was a whole bunch … She’s gonna grow up and have lots of babies, and her babies will have babies. I think it’s a positive. I believe that in my heart.”

And, for acting on that belief, Skage was promptly fired.

In a statement, AFD Petroleum Inc. said it had seen videos of the viral baby moose rescue on social media and was providing provincial authorities with any information they request about the incident.

Skage, said AFD Petroleum president Dale Reimer in an emailed statement, put people at risk and possibly distressed Misty with the truck ride.

“Instead of reporting the situation to a conservation officer and allowing the authorities to handle the rescue and relocation of the moose, the individual made the independent decision to transport an uninjured moose calf, a wild animal, in the front seat of his company vehicle for many hours,” Reimer wrote. “This not only put the employee and other road users at risk but also potentially caused distress and harm to the moose.”

Skage, who said he has some experience with wildlife, has actually “acted as a consultant for several companies, helping them create their own wildlife protocols,” CBC News reports.

He acknowledged that he broke the law and made clear that he is not endorsing anyone to do what he did.

“It is against the law to pick up wild animals off the road or from out in nature, anywhere,” Skage said. “It is illegal to be in possession of wildlife and transport wildlife.”

For his crime, Misty’s rescuer said he will willingly pay any punitive fines he may incur for his actions… but he still believes he did the right thing.

In the court of public opinion, Skage is being seen as a “hero.”

“You fired the guy!!!” exclaimed one Twitter user. “Shame on @AFD Petroleum Inc. Not everything is black & white. I think Mark Skage is a hero.”

“If he worked for me I’d give him a raise,” stated another. “Our world needs more caring people like him.”

“He did what he thought was right and got fired for it. Seems fair being 2023 and all,” tweeted a third. “With all the publicity he is getting he should have no trouble finding a better job.”

Melissa Fine


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