In the animal kingdom the battle for a mate can be brutal, particularly for the loser. But it seems that in an unfortunate turn of events in the wilderness of Alaska, even the winner of a pitched battle cannot guarantee its survival.
Frozen in the moment of an epic clash for dominance, two male moose became entwined and died, subsequently becoming perfectly preserved in a river as the temperature plummeted. The encounter between the brutes was probably over access to females, as the males struggle for dominance and the right to mate. But in nature, things don’t always go to plan.
The incredible find was documented by Jeff Erickson, of the small western Alaskan village of Unalkeleet, who was alerted to the battling moose by a friend, Brad Webster. When he arrived, he found the last moments of the creatures frozen in time in the clear ice of the river. But after returning later with a vehicle and the means of removing the moose (a chainsaw), all that could be seen under a thick dusting of snow was the two antlers of the beleaguered beasts sticking out.
Erickson reckons that the fatal event may have occurred after one of the males delivered a deadly blow to the other, but then found itself fatally interlocked with its rival. “It appears that one of the brow tines (on the antler) penetrated and may have ended this (battle) fast, leaving the ‘winner’ with a 1000 pound headdress and probably pulled his head into the water where he drowned,” Erikson told independent journalist Craig Medred.
The last moments of these mighty moose have been removed intact from the river, with Webster planning on creating a “very unique” head mount. As if you needed anything else to convince you of the brutality and beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.