Pictures and video: men rescue wolf they mistake for a dog

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Estonian construction workers saved what they believed was a dog but later turned out to be a wolf trapped on the ice on the Sindi dam. Rando Kartsepp, Robin Sillamäe and Erki Väli are doing dredging work on the dam. When they arrived at the site this morning, the men noticed an animal trapped on the dam, swimming in a soup of ice.

The men said it took 100 meters of swimming in the icy water. “It was swimming on its own, we cleared a path for it through the ice,” Kartsepp said.

Photo: Erakogu

They pulled the animal, stiff from the cold and with ice in its fur, out of the water, wrapped the beast in a towel and took it to warm up in their car. “We had to carry him over the slope. He weighed a fair bit,” Kartsepp said when asked how difficult it had been to move a wolf.

After the initial critical minutes, the men had more time to look at the animal they had pulled out of the water and developed suspicions: perhaps it’s not a dog but a wolf? The men did not dwell long on the idea, however.

The workers called animal rescue and were told to take the anima to the Terveks animal clinic in Pärnu. Kartsepp said the drive was uneventful, with the wolf sleeping peacefully with its head on his legs. “He was calm, slept on my legs. When I wanted to stretch them, he raised his head for a moment,” Kartsepp said.

Specialists gave the animal a checkup when the party arrived at the clinic, whereas even vets didn’t initially recognize who they were dealing with. The matter was cleared up by a hunter who told the men had cuddled a wolf they had saved from the icy river. “The experience was new. We hope he will be fine,” Kartsepp said.

Head of the clinic Tarvo Markson said the wolf has been nursed back to health by today. The animal was suffering from severe hypothermia and shock when it reached the clinic. “At first, he was so done in for he didn’t resist at all. We simply kept him in this room. But once he started to get an idea of the situation, I felt things might quickly take a turn for the dangerous. We got him into a cage,” Markson said.

Photo: Erakogu

He added that they are dealing with a young male approximately one year of age. Markson said that it would have been somewhat more difficult managing a fully-grown specimen.

Wolf was released back into the wild.
Wolf was released back into the wild. Photo: Marko Kübarsepp

Because the wolf is in good condition, he will be released back into the wild today. The Environmental Agency wants to fit the wolf with a radio tracker for which purpose he will be put to sleep briefly before being released.

Photo: Erakogu