Moose rescued from frozen lake after being stuck for hours

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Officer Severin Erickson holding the moose’s head post rescue so she could breathe. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

A happy ending for a moose after getting stuck in a frozen lake in Washington for hours. 

Officers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife rescued the animal in late December, sharing photos with FOX Television Stations. 

Authorities said the attempt to pull the moose to safety was a calculated decision. 

"While this rescue story has a happy ending, it is more the exception than the rule," the department posted on its Facebook page. "Wild animals, cold temperatures, and water is often a dangerous combination and we choose not to attempt a rescue as it is too risky to human life."

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"We also ask members of the community not to try to rescue animals in distress. Animals do not understand that humans are trying to help and can hurt, or kill, would-be rescuers," the post continued. 

The department said its own officers had to work with the local fire department and the state patrol. 

One homeowner captured the rescue on camera. 

"It was tense," said Paula Pershall-Gilbert told KXLY. "It was so hard. It was just prayerful, all the time."

This story was reported from Los Angeles.