Moose are known to be quite territorial and aggressive animals, and their enormous size and strength means they don’t make ideal pets. However, sometimes there are exceptions, and even the toughest of animals can become vulnerable and in need of the human touch. Erikas Plucas experienced this first hand when he discovered an abandoned baby moose on his farm, but what he didn’t expect was the remarkable bond the two would come to share. Not only that; it turns out that wild animals can also surprise humans in the most unexpected ways. Read here to find out how this moose changed Plucas’s life forever.
The Simple Life
Erikas Plucas lived what some might call the simple life on a farm in Lithuania’s countryside. Seeing that his farm is situated right next to a forest, nature and wild animals were always part and parcel of his daily life.
For Plucas, there was something really quite peaceful and pastoral about living so far away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, but one day something completely unexpected and unusual happened which changed his outlook on life forever.
Just an Ordinary Day
One day, after an ordinary day out, Plucas arrived home to a surprise by his front gate. There, lying quite helplessly at the front gate of his farm, was a baby moose. He couldn’t quite believe his eyes, but there was indeed a helpless calf just lying there semi-motionless.
He immediately assumed that the moose must have just wandered onto his farm from the forest, but something didn’t seem quite right to Plucas. It was only when he approached the helpless calf, would he find out exactly what was wrong.
Time to Investigate
After Plucas spotted the baby moose lying alone at his front gate, he looked around to see if the animal was all alone. He assumed the calf’s mother had to be milling about somewhere, but she was nowhere to be found.
Once he established that the calf was all alone, Plucas approached it ever so carefully so as not to frighten it. On closer inspection, he noticed that it was a female moose who was no older than two weeks. She was in bad shape, and that’s when Plucas figured out what had happened to her mother.
Plucas believed that the female moose’s mother was killed by hunters, and in search of safety, the baby moose ran onto the property of the farm to evade the hunters. It also looked like the calf got injured on the way.
“The first sight of her was heartbreaking,” Plucas told The Dodo. The poor moose was so frightened and vulnerable, but Plucas knew he had to get even closer to save her life before it was too late, or worse, before some predators discovered her.
“She was starved, dirty, sad, and her fur was infested with flies,” Plucas later lamented to The Dodo. That not only did the female moose appear to be in a very bad state, but she was also terrified of Plucas and trembled as he approached her.
She was way too weak to even stand up and run away, so Plucas decided he needed to act right away and rescue her. He scooped up the calf into his arms and carried her inside the house to figure out what to do next, but little did Plucas know what was to come.
Plucas called Animal Services as soon as he took the baby moose inside, but they couldn’t offer any assistance until the next day, so it was up to him to take care of the calf for the night and hope for the best.
The next best idea was to call up his friends to tell them the story and ask for some advice. However, Plucas ended up being sorry he picked up the phone at all because of the surprising backlash he received from those closest to him.
The Unexpected Backlash
Like most people would have done, Plucas called up family and friends to ask for advice and tips, but he was met with aggression. “‘It is illegal, you should not do it. Let nature take care of it,” were the kind of comments Plucas received.
After it was clear that no one was going to help, Plucas collected leaves and grabbed some milk to see if the moose would eat. He knew it would be a long night, but he had to start nursing the calf back to health as her condition was dwindling by the minute.
A Helpless Situation
Animal Services proved to be of absolutely no help. There is no institution dedicated to wild orphan animals in Lithuania, so the only solution Animal Services could offer Plucas was to call the local hunters to inquire if they would take the female moose.
Plucas knew that there was absolutely no way he could give the calf to the local hunters as it meant certain death for her, so he asked Animal Services if he could keep her. His friends might have told him that it is illegal to keep a wild animal, but would Animal Services judge the situation differently?
To Plucas’s surprise, Animal Services agreed that he could keep the moose on his farm, but only if it was what really what he wanted to do. They made it clear that from there on, he was on his own.
He was excited to keep the female moose and named her Emma. The first few weeks were very challenging for him; it was as if fatherhood crept up on him from nowhere. Emma needed to eat every few hours and couldn’t be left alone for too long.
Emma grew very attached to Plucas. Every time he would leave her to go into the house she would cry, so he started sleeping next to the calf in the barn or out in the open field to make her feel safe.
Their bond grew stronger by the day, and Emma began to feel much safer. “She was afraid of everything but me,” Plucas told The Dodo. But once Emma would make progress and realize that she was in a safe place, Plucas needed to figure out the next step.
Into the Forest
As Emma made progress and grew bigger, Plucas decided it was time to reintroduce her back into her home, the forest. He took her for frequent walks and taught her what was safe and unsafe in the hopes of teaching Emma that the wild was the right place for her to ultimately be.
At first, Emma was terrified of the forest, but she felt safe with Plucas and therefore followed him into the wild as he helped her search for food. He hoped Emma would learn how to fend for herself like any other moose in the wild. So, would Emma finally move into the wild?
All Grown Up
The more Emma grew, the more accustomed she became to the forest. As a fully-grown moose, she became very comfortable in the wild, and soon after, she started venturing into the forest all alone without returning for hours on end.
This is when Plucas started to worry and felt like a concerned father who had to get used to the idea of sending his child out into the world. “I remember those first nights she didn’t come home,” Plucas said. “Oh, I barely slept. But she grew up, I had to get over it. After all, it was my goal from the very beginning.” But Emma had some surprises of her own for Plucas.
An Unbreakable Bond
Emma might have grown up and moved permanently into the wild, but that didn’t mean she stopped caring for the man who saved her life. The female moose made a point of visiting her best friend every day without exception.
Plucas and Emma’s bond was unbreakable! She came by the farm every day for a few hours to swim and play with him, so Plucas made sure he had a few treats prepared for her. But there was an even bigger surprise Emma was about to reveal to her best friend.
One More Hurdle
Emma did not really care for humans except for Plucas, due to their truly special bond and relationship. “To me, she is gentle and loving. She is very careful when we are playing, so she would not hurt me,” said Plucas.
She might have already become a full grown moose, but there was still a very important issue to tackle when it came to Emma: the dangerous local hunters! So Plucas devised a plan, as he still felt responsible for Emma’s safety.
Plucas was thrilled to see Emma roaming free in the woods, but he knew that she could fall victim to the local hunters just like her mother did. He couldn’t stand the thought of losing his beloved Emma, but he couldn’t keep her on the farm either.
To avoid the inevitable, Plucas invited the local hunters over to try and get them on his side. “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,” he told The Dodo. Would his plan work?
A Successful Outcome
Plucas’s plan went surprisingly well, and after the hunters witnessed the relationship between Emma and Plucas, they had a complete change of heart. Some of the hunters agreed not to hunt her, while others promised not to hunt moose at all.
The biggest victory for Plucas was that some hunters decided to put down their weapons and stop hunting altogether. He was ecstatic to hear the news, but then Emma showed up with an even bigger surprise than he could have imagined.
After Emma moved back into the wild, Plucas noticed her stomach looking rather round and significantly bigger. It was clear that she was pregnant, and at that moment, Plucas was reassured that Emma really was doing well in the wild. She was starting her own family!
Plucas and Emma have shown the world how man and animals can share an unbreakable bond. As Plucas has said, “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?” Yes indeed, wild animals can teach us a thing or two about life, just like this baby deer did in the next story.
Nature At Its Cruelest
For Lithuanian-born Darius Sasnauskas, wildlife and nature were also nothing out of the ordinary seeing that his backyard is attached to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. However, one day he noticed something strange about a family of deer living near his property.
While he was watching the deer, Sasnauskas noticed one fawn trailing behind the rest of the family. The baby deer still had some blood on its belly, indicating that it was born earlier that day, and had an injured front leg. The fawn couldn’t keep up with the rest of the herd, and they eventually left it behind.
Sasnauskas knew that the little fawn had no chance of survival with its injured leg and all the predators roaming about in the wild. “I do not support keeping wild animals as … pets. But this was [a] special situation,” he wrote in his video caption.
So he decided to bring the female fawn into his house to treat her injured leg. She took a liking to the idea of a house, as well as to the cat and dogs, but they didn’t quite know what to make of her at first.
The fawn really liked Sasnauskas’s pets, but she was extremely hungry and weak. The fawn also needed immediate attention. Like with any puppy or kitten, the first week was hard and the baby deer needed some real tender loving care.
Sasnauskas fed the fawn every few hours and ensured that she wasn’t alone or frightened. His pets were also slowly warming up to the strange creature in their house, and it seemed like everything would be okay. At least that’s what he thought.
A Sweet Bond
For the first week the fawn slept next to Sasnauskas’s bed on a shirt he gave her. In fact, she became so attached to that shirt that she couldn’t fall asleep without it. He didn’t realize it at the time, but Sasnauskas became the deer’s lifesaver.
The fawn, on the other hand, knew exactly what Sasnauskas meant to her, and she became attached to her new family very quickly. She followed Sasnauskas everywhere as if he was her mother. She was still really weak, so he had to keep a close eye on her.
Raising a Fawn
Sasnauskas might have raised some cats and dogs, but he wasn’t sure how to care for a deer. “I had to do some Internet search and reading to be able to understand how to [raise] a fawn … get up at night to feed her every four hours, and clean her after,” Darius told The Dodo.
He also made a splint out of an oatmeal box to help the baby deer walk, and slowly but surely, she began to walk and her spirits lifted. But even more miraculous was the unexpected friendship and bond that would blossom between the fawn and one of the family members.
A Blossoming Bond
After a while, Mack the Bernese Mountain Dog became quite friendly with the baby deer and didn’t stop licking her face, so much so, that his parental instincts kicked in. In a matter of days, Mack became the baby deer’s foster dad.
Mack took charge during feeding time, cleaned the fawn, and kept a close eye on her when they went to play outside, making sure she didn’t run too far. In just a few days, she was walking beautifully and felt so much better.
A Full Recovery
Sasnauskas was happy to see the bond the baby deer and Mack shared, but he didn’t want to name her so as to not grow too attached to the animal. He knew he had to eventually let her back into the wild because that’s where she truly belonged.
The fawn’s herd constantly returned to the area in the evenings, so when she gained all her strength back, Sasnauskas wanted to set her free so she could join them again. After all, no one could replace the deer’s real mother.
As soon as the fawn made a full recovery, Sasnauskas brought her outside in the evenings. He believed that she would join her family the moment she saw them and finally join the wild again — the place where she naturally belonged.
She followed Sasnauskas because she was used to him and trusted him, but every time he set her free, she returned back to him. The fawn wasn’t ready to leave the man who saved her life, or Mack, for that matter.
One evening, about two weeks after Sasnauskas started caring for the fawn, he took her outside to play for a bit to encourage her to get used to the wild. He believed that the more time she spent by the forest, the quicker she’d become accustomed it.
Suddenly, the fawn spotted her mother in the bushes, and to Sasnauskas’s surprise, she leaped into the air and ran straight for the herd. He was thrilled to see her run back into the wild like that, as he feared that she had become a little too attached to him.
It was an extremely significant moment for Sasnauskas. After he witnessed the fawn running towards her mother, he knew his work was done. He managed to rehabilitate a wild animal even though he didn’t really believe in taking wild animals into a domestic space.
The deer grew extremely close to him, but nature kicked in as soon as she spotted her mother again. Sasnauskas was satisfied to see the fawn reunite with her family, but he didn’t realize that satisfaction would come flooding back several months later.
The Reality of It All
“I really hoped that she did not get attached to me too much because that would make [it] very hard for her to survive in the wild,” Sasnauskas told The Dodo. While some people might not agree with his sentiments, Sasnauskas raised a significant point.
Mack and Sasnauskas couldn’t teach the fawn how to protect herself from predators and hunters, so the sooner she joined the wild, the better her chance of the deer’s survival were. He also knew she’d be safer with her family. But it wasn’t over just yet.
An Unexpected Visit
The herd liked to visit the area in the fall and usually roamed around the fence as it was the safest zone to be in. Sasnauskas didn’t expect to ever see the fawn again. She would also grow and it’d be hard to discern the difference between them.
Well, as it turned out, he was wrong because a few months later something incredible happened. Sasnauskas saw the deer leaping through the bushes at full speed alongside her family. This was another moment of confirmation of a job well done for him.
Social Media Reaction
Sasnauskas recorded the fawn’s road to recovery and posted it online for everyone to see. His kindness and selfless attitude turned him into an internet sensation. People loved how well the fawn interacted with him and his pets.It was truly a sight to behold.
Not only did he show the world the benefits and importance of wildlife rehabilitation; Sasnauskas also enjoyed the satisfaction of saving a life and the attention it brought him. He expressed his gratitude on the video and wrote, “I didn’t expect this story to become so popular. I am sure that any of us with a little bit of a conscience about our existence, with love for the nature and animals would do the same.”
Through his YouTube channel, Darius Sasnauskas is sharing his knowledge of wildlife with others around the world. In his particular rescue story about the baby deer, he first showed the video of how he gave the little fawn a bath.
In the caption to the video, he wrote that “until few weeks old, fawn needs help to get cleaned and get help to go to bathroom, and that’s what usually mother doe does, but in this case I had to do it.”
How To Feed A Deer
Next, Darius Sasnauskas demonstrated how he would wake up in the middle of the night to feed this baby deer. After all, he was forced to take the role that the deer’s mother would have played, caring and nurturing for the young fawn.
In the video, he is shown waking up at 2:00 AM and feeding the little deer right from his bed. Apparently the first bottle he bought for her was too big, so he ended up buying a baby bottle from a local pharmacy. It was the perfect size!
One Year Later
About a year after the initial rescue, Darius Sasnauskas managed to cross paths with the baby deer again and documented it in a YouTube video entitled “Baby deer a year after the rescue and release”. However, she was no longer a baby. At this point, she was already 11 months old!
In the video, the baby deer is shown with her mother and another sibling visiting his property again. Unfortunately, despite the gift of life that he had once given her, Sasnauskas said that the deer no longer recognizes him and runs away as soon as he tries to get close.
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