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'Dog' saved from freezing cold river is actually a wolf

'Dog' saved from freezing cold river is actually a wolf

The rescuers had no idea what animal they were saving

Mistaken identity in the animal kingdom happens more than you might think, and it seems one group of rescuers in Estonia had one doozy of an example when it came time to rescue a mutt from a frozen river.

The poor canine was found shivering in a river north of Pärnu by contractors who were working on a nearby dam four years ago.

Bravely clearing a path through the ice, the men rescued the dog and returned to land, where they wrapped him up in a towel and brought him back to the car.

A wolf was mistaken for a dog in a Estonia rescue mission.
EUPA

Animal rescue services advised they take the shivering pooch to a nearby medical centre for care.

It was there that they made the shocking discovery - they hadn't rescued a dog. They'd saved a wolf.

Discussing the rescue operation, Rando Kartsepp told an Estonian news outlet: "We had to carry him over the slope. He weighed a fair bit.

"He was calm, slept on my legs. When I wanted to stretch them, he raised his head for a moment."

The wolf's docile behaviour is likely explained by his severe drop in blood pressure.

According to a local hunter, the wolf was only a year or so old.

As a safety precaution, the vets put him inside a cage, on the off chance that he wasn't quite as meek when he was in full health.

By the next day, the wolf had made a quick recovery and was discharged back into the wild - with a radio tracker placed onto him by the national environmental agency.

The wolf was nursed back to health and released back into the wild.
Eestimaa Loomakaitse Liit/Facebook

A spokesperson for EUPA (Estonian Union for the Protection of Animals) said: "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."

The northeastern European nation is home to hundreds of wolves, with only a handful being 'collared' in recent years.

Generally, wolves avoid contact with humans.

In 2018, the wolf was chosen as Estonia's national animal by a group of nature organisations, including the Estonia Nature Society and Tallinn Zoo.

Marju Kõivupuu, an Estonian folklorist, told the country’s public broadcaster ERR: "Wolf is a natural part of our environment and leaves no one indifferent.

"The wolf is one of the most popular animals in our folk tales, there are over 500 names and stories written down about this animal."

Featured Image Credit: Eestimaa Loomakaitse Liit/Facebook

Topics: Animals, World News