4-Year-Old Boy Attacked by Elk at Colorado Playground Days After Girl Injured in Similar Incident

The incident at the playground is the second elk attack on a child in Estes Park in less than a week

<p>Getty</p> Cow Elk in Colorado


Cow Elk in Colorado

A 4-year-old boy was attacked by an elk on a playground in Estes Park less than a week after a similar incident in the area involving an 8-year-old girl.

On Monday, June 3, a cow elk — or female elk — in Estes Park, Colo. charged and stomped the young boy as he was playing in a local playground around 1:30 p.m., Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) said in a statement on Tuesday, June 4.

Two elk calves were hidden near a playground in Stanley Park unbeknownst to several families using the facility when an adult elk charged the 4-year-old suddenly, stomping on him multiple times before a family member was able to scare the animal away, CPW said in a statement. The boy was taken to the hospital to be treated and released later that night.

<p>Getty</p> Cow elk in Colorado


Cow elk in Colorado

Since the incident, the playground has been closed indefinitely and parts of the Lake Estes Loop trail have also been closed.

Just three days earlier, on Friday, May 31, an 8-year-old girl was riding her bike in Estes Park when a female elk charged her from 60 yards away, chasing her down and stomping on her several times, CPW said last week in a separate press release. She was also taken to the hospital and released the same day.

Wildlife officers found an elk calf in the area following the incident and an adult female elk became aggressive toward the officer on the scene where the young calf was discovered, CPW said.

An officer helped to transport the calf to the CPW Health Lab on Friday, "where veterinarians and wildlife specialists will care for the newborn," per the statement.

Following both incidents, the adult elks were hazed using "non-lethal bean bag rounds" to scare them away from public areas, the department statements said.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Kara Van Hoose told the Coloradoan that the mother elk that attacked the girl was not euthanized because it reportedly "exhibited common behavior as an elk mother protecting her calf."

"This is an unusual and unfortunate situation where a young girl was playing outside, far from the calf, and a cow elk became aggressive to protect her newborn," Jason Duetsch, Area Wildlife Manager for CPW, said in last week's press release. "We're happy the girl is recovering from her injuries and wish her continued healing."

Related: Dog Killed By Police After Woman, 2 Children Were Injured When Animal Attacked

<p>Colorado Parks and Wildlife</p> Estes Park warns residents and visitors to be careful of aggressive cow elk

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Estes Park warns residents and visitors to be careful of aggressive cow elk

CPW is now warning local residents — as well as visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park — about potential elk attacks as calving season continues. According to the department, calves in Colorado takes place from late spring to early summer, and female elk can become aggressive when defending their young as they're immobile.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation states that elk cows weigh around 500 lbs and stand around 4.5 feet tall. According to the CPW, Colorado has one of the largest elk populations in the world with over 280,000 animals, some of which are hunted for herd health and population control.

The town of Estes Park said on its website that although it's not unusual for elk to "become irritable and highly protective" during several different seasons, including calving season, many incidents with wildlife are caused by humans getting too close or driving their cars up to elk to watch them.

Related: Rhode Island Hiker Kills Rabid Coyote with Bare Hands After Being Bitten on the Leg During Attack

The National Park Service (NPS) recommended on its website that anyone who encounters a Rocky Mountain elk, or any other elk, to use the "Rule of Thumb."

"When viewing wildlife, make a thumbs up; extend your arm all the way; close one eye and see if you can hide the animal with your thumb. If you can still see the animal, you are too close," the NPS said on its website. "Take steps back until the animal is completely hidden."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

The NPS also recommended on its site that if wildlife approaches you, "back away and maintain a safe distance." The recommended distance that humans should keep between themselves and wildlife is 75 feet, or the length of two buses.

Pets should also be kept on leashes in areas where elk are active, the town of Estes Park stated on its website.

"If a wild animal changes its behavior due to your presence, you are too close," per the NPS site.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.