Zoo officials were shocked to discover what an elk was doing after it spent an unusual amount of time by a water trough (video below).
The elk, named Shooter, began behaving suspiciously and poking his head inside the pail, prompting zoo officials to wonder what exactly he was doing, reports KPVI.
While Shooter sometimes dipped his head in the trough to take a sip of water, he was taking an usually long time to do so. He also began pawing at the pail with his hooves, confusing workers at the Pocatello Zoo in Idaho even more.
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This went on for several minutes, before he used his antlers to help pull something small from the water.
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Once officials got a closer look, they realized that Shooter had been trying to rescue a marmot that was submerged in the water, notes Viral Nova.
The elk was able to pull the marmot to safety and proceeded to lay it on the ground so it could recuperate.
The elk’s story quickly went viral, with many expressing their amazement at his ability to rescue another animal in need.
“Aww, what a sweetheart! I hope he gets lots of treats for this beautiful act of kindness,” a YouTube user wrote in a comment.
Some questioned the zoo staff’s decision to take pictures rather than help save the marmot.
“Zoo officials are hardly animal-friendly. They'd rather take photos of an animal dying and use them to increase the number of paying visitors to the zoo than actually help a fellow creature. Animals should not be in zoos,” one user commented on YouTube.
Learn more about Shooter’s amazing act of kindness in the video below.