Monday, 5 March 2012


This moose was "rescued"on the end of May, 1949, in the ditch between the CPR tracks and the highway about a quarter of a mile east of the Jackfish River Bridge just east of Nipigon.

Mr. and Mrs. Jack Best and June and Tom Jeffery were out for a drive in the evening when they saw this baby moose wandering along the ditch. After watching it for some time, Tom and Sue got out of the car and walked over closer. It seemed to be lost and weak from hunger. Tom went down in the ditch and put his arms around the four legs and carried it up on the road. It struggled to escape and made quite a noise, but still no sign of the mother.

After waiting and looking for the mother, it was assumed that she must have been killed, perhaps by the train as it was beside the main line of the CPR.

This is why it was felt that this action was a "rescue" instead of a "capture".

The baby moose was carried to the car and placed on the floor in the back seat, where Tom held it so it would not struggle and hurt itself. I guess it was both tired and hungry, because it layed on the floor as quiet as a pet dog.

It was taken to Don Gapen's Chalet Bungalow Lodge, and fed a mixture of canned milk and water, with a baby bottle and nipple.

It, being a boy moose, was named "Abdul".

An enclosure of wire was made, and Don and the Lodge staff fed Abdul with the bottle and nipple for quite some time.

After a month it was tame enough to be let out of the pen and have the freedom and run of the Lodge area.

It was quite a pet and certainly a big tourist attraction around the Chalet Bungalow.

Late in the fall, Don Gapen moved to the States for the winter and Tom and Jack Best made frequent trips out by snowshoe and skiis to be sure Abdul had a good supply of food.

He stayed around the Chalet Bungalow Lodge all the next summer and grew a stubby set of horns.

It gave many a tourist a surprise after booking in to the Lodge during the dark of night, to be rushing to the toilet early in the morning and meet a moose on the pathway. I wonder how many did not get to the toilet in time?

By the second fall, Abdul had grown to be a beautiful healthy young bull moose, with quite a nice set of horns. He was also getting quite possessive of the area around the Lodge, and did not make too much effort to move out of anyone's way.

He stayed around the Lodge the second winter and made frequent trips out to the Department of Highways area.

Many people drove out on weekends from as far away as Thunder Bay and Geraldton to see this tame moose and fed him numerous quantities of cakes and cookies. Now a moose just cannot digest very much of this type of food, and one Monday morning Abdul was very sick to his stomach. He was found frozen to the ground beside the Department of Highways garage and almost dead.

Highways Department contacted Mr. Whitfield, the local Conservation Officer, who decided he would have to shoot poor Abdul. Tom heard about this and convinced Mr. Whitfield not to shoot the moose for at least another few hours. Then he contacted R.C.M.P. Corporal Hector Hartly and the R.C.M.P. Constable Dan Morriseau and told them of the situation.

Tom, Dan and Hector all met at the Highways' garage with a length of garden hose, a funnel and some grease and a pail of soapy water. They then proceeded to give Abdul an enema.

It worked quickly and he relieved himself of a mass of pastry which by then resembled a pail of glue. He was then chopped out of the ice and pulled into the garage, covered with blankets and a good fire started in the huge heating stove.

The next morning Tom found him up on his feet, but was walking on the knuckles of his hind feet. Being an old teamster, he knew this was due to a cold in the kidneys, so went up to Thompson's Drug Store and purchased 2 bottles of Sweet Nytre. This was given to Abdul, some brush was gathered for food and more fire put on.

The next morning Abdul walked out of the garage, a little weak, but quite alive and very hungry. He immediately started feeding on the small trees and shrubs.

During the summer months Abdul started wandering away from the Lodge for several days at a time, but always came back for a visit. He was now three years old.

That fall he was last seen in the Ozone area.

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