Newborn Animals Make for a Sweet, Sleepless Season at Alaska Conservation Center


First came the phone call, on Sunday night: The Alaska Department of Fish and Game had declared a lone newborn moose, hanging around the interior town of Tok, abandoned.

Did the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage have room for the calf, which was listless and dehydrated? The answer was yes.

Sarah Howard, an upbeat, unflappable 26-year-old who supervises care of orphaned animals at the center, grabbed an intern, a large dog crate and a truck and began the six-hour journey to Slana to retrieve her new charge.

She spent the ride -- the intern was behind the wheel -- chattering on the phone with relevant veterinarians and Fish and Game officials, smoothing the way for the orphaned moose's official transfer to its new home. She even found a local Tok EMT who could give the dehydrated moose fluids intravenously.

By the time she met up with a Fish and Game technician in Slana on Monday evening, all there was to do was shepherd the gangly little moose into a dog crate secured in the backseat and drive back down the highway. She thought the calf looked to be about six days old.

A mewling whine came from the dog crate. They tried to stop and feed the moose a bottle of formula. He seemed confused. Country music on the radio soothed him.

"He liked George Strait," Howard said.