Man spots moose near dumpster, discovers unexpected object in his mouth

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Moose are majestic animals and belong in the wild.

So when James West from Alaska spotted a young moose at the garbage station, he knew something was wrong.

“It was odd to see a moose there,” West told The Dodo.

Last year, an Anchorage resident found himself in the right place at the right time.

While driving past a pair of dumpsters, James West noticed something peculiar.

James West / Facebook

According to a Facebook post by James, he saw a moose chewing on what seemed to be a trash bag. James stopped his car to take a closer look, but he still couldn’t see what the moose had in its mouth.

The moose was stumbling, chewing vigorously, and frothing at the mouth.

“I made my way closer to investigate,” James said and continued:

“The closer I got, I could tell his breathing wasn’t right and he was chewing profusely … It was at that time my heart sunk into my stomach.”

James suddenly became aware of the dire situation as he noticed a plastic garbage bag obstructing the moose’s throat. The moose struggled for its life, breathing in a manner that was far from normal.

James West / Facebook

Approaching an injured moose was, of course, very risky. Yet James felt compelled to act, sensing there was no other choice. He thought about calling animal control, but there really was no time for that.

With the situation growing increasingly urgent, James made the decision to take matters into his own hands. He approached the large animal cautiously. Moose generally aren’t aggressive toward humans, but they can become aggressive if provoked or frightened.

“The speed and power of a moose is unforgiving. It would only take one kick to hospitalize someone, if not kill them,” James said while speaking to The Dodo.

“[But] after about 10 minutes of talking to him and slowly getting closer, he definitely understood I was not there to hurt him.”

Eventually, he managed to get close enough to dislodge the long piece of plastic. To James’ surprise, removing the plastic proved to be pretty easy. And what a difference it made for the moose afterward!

James West / Facebook

“He began to get to what I could only describe as excited and playful,” West said. “There was actually a point in time I was worried he was going to try to play with me and I’d get hurt unintentionally, like a big, clumsy puppy.”

It was quite messy around the garbage station, with plenty of plastic and litter strewn outside the bins. James decided to do a bit of cleanup to prevent more animals from eating on the life-threatening plastic. Amidst the clutter, he stumbled upon an old pumpkin, which would prove to be quite useful…

James West / Facebook

He offered the pumpkin to the hungry moose—and it clearly enjoyed it very much.

James speculated that the moose he rescued was likely around 2 or 3 years old and experiencing its first winter alone as the ”little guy.”

What could have ended in tragedy turned into quite a happy moment — for both the animal and James.

“He was definitely high spirited and happy,” James said. “I stayed there for about an hour, watching him eat and play. I took some photos and simply felt relieved things turned out the way they did.”

As James had mentioned, he shared his story on Facebook without any inkling of how it would explode, garnering attention from several newspapers. Moreover, thousands shared his post, praising him for his act.

So I was driving past some dumpsters today and noticed something odd. I seen a moose chewing on a what appeared to be a…

Posted by James West on Thursday, March 23, 2023

James, however, remains modest amidst the acclaim, finding fulfillment in the simple joy of witnessing the moose up close and being able to assist.

”It was nothing, I never expected my post to blow up as it did,” he told LiveNOW.  

”And reading through the comments, wow. So many people throwing around the word ‘hero.’ I’m not so sure what I did would be heroic or stupid, but I would do it again for any animal at any age,” West said. 

In a time where division and negativity often dominate our news feeds, sharing stories of hope and compassion becomes an act of resistance.

It reminds us that amidst the chaos, there is still beauty and kindness to be found.

So let us continue to share James’ story, to uplift and inspire one another, and to collectively strive towards creating a brighter, more compassionate world for all beings – big and small!

 



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