OREGON CITY, Ore. -- It was a first and an unusual 9-1-1 call for Clackamas County firefighters: A 1,500-pound camel, named Moses, needed to be rescued.
The call came in Tuesday night after the owners of the camel, named Moses, reported that the family pet had fallen into a sink hole that was 6 to 8 feet deep and was possibly injured. The owners had tried to get the camel out themselves but failed.
The sink hole was so far from the road that firefighters were unable to transport any heavy equipment to the scene. Instead, they had to rely purely on muscle and brain power to get the camel out.
Moses is one of the animals at the Bible Zoo Ministry.
First, firefighters called for backup and extra manual labor. Then, they carefully shoveled away mud around the camel for several hours, worrying that if they tried to lift him too soon, he could get injured.
The concern of everyone was that the firefighters would get the animal part way out and it would struggle and possibly break one or both of its back legs. They had to get it all the way out the first time, said Steve McAdoo, a spokesman for the Clackamas County Fire District.
Moses was patient, and eventually the rescuers managed to get straps under him and safely lift and drag him out of the sink hole.
Exhausted, the camel laid on his side for about four hours after the rescue before slowly getting up and walking away.
The owners hugged and thanked the rescuers for saving the family pet. Moses very slowly walked back to his barn where the veterinarian checked him out, found no obvious injuries and let him drink some water and rest for the night. It appears he will recover, McAdoo added.
Moses lives on a farm at 15796 S. Maplelane Rd. in Oregon City, where the family runs what they call a Bible Zoo. He is part of a Christian-based animal exhibit with another camel, named Bethlehem, as well as goats and ponies and other animals that are often used for therapeautic care for foster kids.