Soldiers will encounter an array of things in the field. And most of them aren’t gentle. But Erich Kyri Prikko, a conscription member of the Estonian defense force, was performing military exercises in the Estonian forests where he encountered a gentle creature.
Prikko was taking part in Estonias largest-ever military exercise.
The Siil (or Hedgehog) 2018 military exercise involved about 15,000 troops to “test the mobilization mechanisms of the Estonian Defence Forces, and to conduct manoeuvers all over the country,” the BBC reports.
Not only did Estonian troops and reservists participate, but 2,000 troops from NATO countries also took part.
“Our task is to show our opponents that attacking us would be so risky that the costs of such a step would outweigh any potential gain,” Defence Minister Juri Luik said.
Prikko was stationed with a unit near the shores of Lake Võrtsjärv. The exercise required them to trek through the woods.
That’s when Prikko felt the call of nature and had to find a place to relieve himself.
It was then that he heard something strange.
“I heard some funny voices that reminded me of a cat or a small baby,” Prikko told The Dodo. “I noticed some kind of a cute animal walking towards me. At first he reminded me a dog, but pretty quickly I realized it was a small baby moose trying to tell me something.”
The moose calf was all alone and its mother was nowhere in sight. Prikko was hoping that the baby would wander off to go find it’s mother.
However, the calf had other plans.
“He slowly walked towards me,” Prikko said. “He was quite shy at first, but he finally decided that I seemed to be trustworthy and came very close to me.”
The friendly and trusting little moose seem to give Prikko a little kiss on his cheek. That’s probably the first time that this has ever happened to Prikko in the field.
Prikko says the moose might have mistaken him for his mother.
“He even tried to find something under my armpit,” Prikko said. “He might have thought that I have mammary glands.”
But alas, Prikko did not have mammary glands and could not feel the poor little baby. The moose just seemed to be happy that it didn’t have to be alone.
But Prikko wasn’t about to leave this little calf all on its own without trying to help.
“I called our veterinary office and let them know what happened,” Prikko said. “I wanted to do more for the small calf and wanted to ask what should I do.”
The vet told Prikko to leave the calf where it was found but to keep an eye out for it. A vet was actually dispatched to the scene with a bottle to feed the baby in case it mom didn’t return.
Turns out, leaving the moose alone was good advice.
Prikko and his unit tried not to disturb the area so they wouldn’t scare away the mom. The unit did hear a moose call during the night and found that the baby was gone by morning.
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“We noticed very fresh big moose footprints that indicated that the small calf had been rescued by his mother,” Prikko said. “I wanted the calf’s mother to find him and I was very satisfied when we found out that they really found each other.”
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