A firefighter has rescued a newborn elk from the ashes of the largest wildfire in the US.
Nate Sink was dispatched to the New Mexico forest fires, and happened upon the baby elk, which was not moving.
“The whole area is just surrounded in a thick layer of ash and burned trees. I didn’t think it was alive,” Sink said, as he and other firefighters helped to contain the wildfires that had spread over 486 miles.
After searching and finding no trace of the calf’s mother, Nate took the calf to a nearby ranch. It has now been transferred to a rehabilitation center in Espanola, north of Santa Fe, where it is recovering.
The baby elk, named Cinder, has even been taken on by a surrogate elk, so that it can learn the ways of its own kind without too much human interaction.
“They do elk things, they don’t do people things,” said veterinarian Kathleen Ramsay.
Cinder weighed only 14.5 kg when she was found, and still had her umbilical cord attached. A fully grown female elk can weigh anywhere between 261 to 283 kg (575 to 624 lb).
The vet said Cinder will be released into the wild at some point after December.