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Estonians rescue wolf from freezing river, mistaking it for a dog

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Estonians rescue wolf from freezing river, mistaking it for a dog
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Eestimaa Loomakaitse Liit/Facebook
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When Estonian dam workers saw a dog trapped in icy water on Wednesday, they didn't hesitate: they rushed to help.

They cleared a path for the animal, who was swimming by the Sindi dam in the freezing Parnu river in Estonia, and took it to a clinic for medical care... only to discover that it wasn't a dog, but a wolf.

Eestimaa Loomakaitse Liit/Facebook

The Estonian Union for the Protection of Animals (EUPA), which posted photos of the canine with the story on Facebook, said that the animal was "very exhausted, hypothermic and frozen" when it was brought to the clinic.

One of the wolf's rescuers, Rando Kartsepp, told the Estonian newspaper Postimees that the workers had to carry the wolf from the river and over the slope. "He weighed a fair bit", he said. In the car to the clinic, the wolf was calm and slept on Kartsepp's leg, he added: "When I wanted to stretch them, he raised his head for a moment."

Eestimaa Loomakaitse Liit/Facebook

EUPA veterinarians suspected that the "dog" wasn't really one, and brought in a local hunter who confirmed that the animal was a one-year-old wolf. "According to the doctor, he was in such a state that without saving the boys, he would probably have stayed in that river", the EUPA said.

The EUPA said they paid the medical bills. "We thank the heart of the young men who went to help the wild animal and saved him", they added.

The wolf recovered quickly, and was released in the wild after being fitted with a GPS collar by Estonia's national environmental agency.