Story By: Bartosz Staszewski, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: CEN
Video Credit: CEN/Drawa National Park-Adam Zarecki
This is the moment two dozen firefighters pull a bison out a frozen lake after it fell through the ice and then warm it with a thermal blanket.
The startling scenes were recorded in Drawa National Park in north-western Poland after the female European bison (Bison bonasus) was spotted stranded in Lake Ostrowiec by local teacher, Maciej Glawdel.
Local media report the bison had been trying to cross the frozen lake but the ice had buckled beneath its weight, causing it to plunge into a hole.
Video Credit: CEN/Drawa National Park-Jaroslaw Gancarczyk
Glawdel spotted the stranded animal and called the local fire brigade who rushed to the scene along with Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Szczecin and the West Pomeranian Life Society (ZTP).
The rescue effort reportedly involved around 60 people and firefighters had to use specialised floating equipment to move through the ice and reach the stranded bison.
They then held the bison’s head above the icy water and helped it swim towards the shore before beginning the operation to lift it out, according to reports.
Pictures Credit: CEN & CEN/A. Zarecki
In the video, the firefighters can be seen standing in a line grabbing onto two hoses which are wrapped around the bison’s horns.
The firefighters then sprint in unison uphill, dragging the huge bison out of the water to safety.
The young bison was reportedly suffering from hypothermia and a video shows it shivering as it is wrapped in thermal blankets. Local media report the animal was also given oxygen to aid its recovery.
Reports state the bison, which weighs around 300 kilograms (661 lbs) regained its strength after a few hours and recovered.
Pawel Bilski, the Director of the national park, said: “The two-year-old bison was named ‘Maciej’, in honour of the teacher who found her.”
There are no bison herds in the Drawa National Park itself, but the animals often go there during their migration.