When Animal Rescue Becomes Part of the Job

In recent weeks, a deer, squirrel, and manatee all found themselves in precarious situations. Good thing utility workers were around to lend a helping hand.

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Animal rescue isn’t typically the job of a utility worker, but a few recent incidents show the myriad ways it can suddenly find itself on the daily list of job duties.

For example, on Dec. 8 in North Dakota, a water utility worker while out on a service call came across a deer blinded by caked ice and snow that had accumulated on most of its head.

“I found this doe stumbling around and falling down,” Brent Harr of the Stutsman Rural Water District told the Forum News Service. “I noticed her face was completely covered in ice.”

A farmer driving by stopped to help Harr get the deer under control and the two removed about 2 inches of ice from the animal’s head.

“We got her back on her feet and away she went,” says Harr. “It turned out there was no problem at all with the service call, but it looks like I was on the right road at the right time.”

On Dec. 2 in Munich, Germany, a red squirrel required rescue after its lower half became stuck in a hole on a manhole cover.

“He seemed to have no strength. His front claws had been battered by his desperate attempts to free himself,” a member of an animal rescue organization told United Press International.

The squirrel was also suffering the primary effects of hypothermia. Initially, rescuers used olive oil to grease up the squirrel and try to pull it out, but they were unsuccessful. The eventual solution was lifting up the manhole and sliding the squirrel out in the other direction, bottom first.

On Nov. 30 in Jacksonville, Florida, a manatee was found stuck in a storm drain by a city worker. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officials, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue, and a veterinarian from the Jacksonville Zoo responded to assist.

To free the manatee, crews spent five hours digging a trench to reach the 36-inch pipe then sawing the top of it off, being careful not to harm the animal in any way. An emergency worker was lowered into the pipe to steer the manatee toward the opening.

“We saw him roll over on his back one time and that’s a sign of them giving up,” Lt. Alan Mallard of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department told the Florida Times-Union. “We knew that time was short, so we want to work as fast and as safely as we can to give him a chance.”

The manatee was then put onto a sling and hoisted onto the back of a rescue vehicle that transported it to SeaWorld to be evaluated and prepared for a release back to the wild.

Have any animal rescue situations come up in your day-to-day work? Comment below.


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