California Department of Water Resources
When the construction workers reached the lip of the Pärnu River, they were horrified to see a dog struggling to stay afloat in the icy water. Floundering about, the poor pooch was obviously panicking, which forced the men to take further action.
Mother Nature Network
They didn’t hesitate to leap into the freezing water in an attempt to rescue the helpless dog, but first they had to carve a pathway through the thick layer of ice sitting atop the water. The dog must’ve fallen through the ice like an overambitious ice skater.
Thankfully, they made it to the canine in time. The rescuers immediately wrapped him up in a cozy blanket, doing the best they could to dry off his dense fur. The furry guy was in a state of shock.
The construction workers were enamored with the pooch. They’d never seen one like him! He had a long snout, a hefty coat, and his eyes glowed like yellow citrine. Neither guy could guess what breeds made up this mutt.
But they didn’t have time to consider the mongrel’s origins, as it would be a matter of minutes before he froze to death. The three men rushed the dog to a pickup truck, gently laying him down in the back before contacting a nearby animal hospital.
@erakogu / Instagram
The hospital instructed Rando, Robin, and Erki to bring the shaking dog over ASAP, as he was in great danger of dying of hypothermia. They put the key in the ignition and slammed on the gas, speeding the entire route to the hospital.
The construction workers’ new furry friend managed to sleep the whole ride there, all while they were frantically breathing through brown paper bags (okay, not really). The men carried the large canine inside the building, where veterinarians were ready to help the dog survive.
After some time, the veterinarians had some news for the men: To the crew’s confusion, the animal they rescued apparently wasn’t a domestic dog. The docs quickly admitted that even they were unsure of the canine’s species.
The perplexed vets called a local hunter, hoping he’d know what species the crew of heroic men saved. The skilled huntsman knew exactly what their furry friend was as he couldn’t help but notice what big teeth he had.
J. W. Smith
The men were dumbfounded — this was a wolf! Just minutes ago a ferocious predator was in their truck, resting his head oin Rando’s lap! “He was calm, slept on my legs. When I wanted to stretch them, he raised his head for a moment,” Rando said.
Seacrest Wolf Preserve
But because the wolf was in such shabby shape, he couldn’t even think about snacking on the men who rescued him. According to the Estonian Union for the Protection of Animals, the wolf’s dangerously low blood pressure made him too weak.
Knowledge, Science, Culture Everyday /YouTube
Considering he was brought to a safer, much warmer environment, the wolf’s blood pressure would undoubtedly rise back up, so the cautious vets put him in a cage. With increased blood pressure would likely come increased aggression.
“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.” said Tarvo Markson, the hospital’s head clinician.
The one-year-old wolf started acting up as soon as his blood pressure went back to normal, just as expected. After a few hours of recovery, the little wolf pup was starting to feel like himself again; he was ready to head home.
Knowledge, Science, Culture Everyday / YouTube
But before they were to release the wolf back into the wild, the Estonian National Environmental Agency decided to give him a GPS collar, as they didn’t want him getting into any more perilous shenanigans with no one to save him.
The construction crew brought their wolf friend, who was still safely contained in a cage, to his home adjacent the Pärnu River. They slowly opened the cage’s metal door, and watched as the young wolf stepped onto the snow paw by paw.
As Rando, Robin, and Erki waved goodbye, the furry guy bolted into the darkness of the woods. It was bittersweet for the valiant men, as they developed an attachment to the ambiguous creature. Though they couldn’t help but feel sad, they also were proud.
“We are so happy for the outcome of the story, and wish to thank all the participants — especially these men who rescued the wolf and the doctors of the clinic who were not afraid to treat and nurture the wild animal,” relayed the Estonian Union for the Protection of Animals.
They knew the benefit wolves could have on an ecosystem. All they had to do was look a few thousand miles away to America’s Yellowstone National Park. In the ’80s and ’90s, it was wolf free — and hurting.
Before 1926, Yellowstone National Park was full of wolves. They thrived in the park, but within the first few decades of the 1900s, government predator control programs wiped them out entirely. This was a problem.
No one saw another wolf until 1977 — about 50 years later — but, even then, it was a lone wolf or two merely wandering through. Oddly, it was the lack of these wolves that led to the park’s decline.
With no predators to fear, the deer population absolutely exploded. They could eat and overgraze all they wanted without worrying about wolves. Soon, the forests and meadows were barren, but the deer and their ilk kept at it.
As the deer kept grazing, taking all the resources for themselves, the other animals suffered. Creatures that dined on fauna stood no chance in the food race against deer. Animals that ate those animals saw their food supply dwindle.
And the rapid loss of vegetation didn’t just leave the forests bare. Without vegetation keeping soil in place, the rivers that ran through Yellowstone began eroding, which prompted the loss of many animal species who relied on healthy waters to survive.
Yellowstone was struggling, and park employees needed to find a solution. It really all boiled down to the high numbers of deer, they knew, so, in 1995, they hatched a plan.