Wildlife rangers were finally able to free an elk from a tyre, which was stuck on its neck for at least two years, following multiple attempts to free it.
In 2019, wildlife officers first became aware of a young elk with a tyre around its neck, while conducting a survey in the Mount Evans Wilderness in Colorado.
At the time of the first sighting, the elk appeared to be around two-years-old.
“Being up in the wilderness, we didn’t really expect to be able to get our hands on the elk just because of the proximity or the distance away from civilisation,” Wildlife officer Scott Murdoch said.
The elk was also spotted three times in 2020.
From May to June this year, there were four unsuccessful attempts to catch the bull in the Pleasant Park area of Conifer, the bull was then spotted near a town between September to October.
Mr Murdoch said in a press release, they weren't getting many reports of the elk in the winter and feels as though breeding season helped them eventually catch him and rescue him from the tire.
Finally, on Saturday, October 9, wildlife rangers with Colorado Parks and Wildlife were able to free the elk from the tyre.
The elk had to be tranquillised and and they were able to apprehend it on a private property.
“I was able to quickly respond to a report from a local resident regarding a recent sighting of this bull elk in their neighbourhood," Wildlife officer Dawson Swanson said.
"I was able to locate the bull in question along with a herd of about 40 other elk."
We have received sighting reports of the bull elk with a tire around its neck, including this video taken Wednesday night by Rod Riddle near Pine Junction. The first sighting we had of this elk with this tire on it was back in July 2019. pic.twitter.com/C2hHZImyQ5
— CPW NE Region (@CPW_NE) October 2, 2021
Antlers removed to help four-year-old elk
The wildlife officers estimate the bull to now be around four-and-a-half years-old.
Each antler had five points and the animal weighed more than 270 kilograms.
Murdoch said it was tight removing the tyre from around the elk's neck, even after his antlers had been removed.
"It was not easy for sure, we had to move it just right to get it off because we weren’t able to cut the steel in the bead of the tyre," he added.
"Fortunately, the bull’s neck still had a little room to move."
The officers would have preferred to get the tyre off without removing the antlers, but said the situation was "dynamic" and they were desperate to free the elk.
Fortunately, the elk's neck was not in a bad way after the tyre was removed.
“The hair was rubbed off a little bit, there was one small open wound maybe the size of a nickel or quarter, but other than that it looked really good,” Murdoch said.
“I was actually quite shocked to see how good it looked.”
Shockingly, Swanson and Murdoch estimate the elk was about 15kgs lighter after the tyre and antlers were removed.
“The tire was full of wet pine needles and dirt,” Murdoch said.
“So the pine needles, dirt and other debris basically filled the entire bottom half of the tire. There was probably 10 pounds (4.5kgs) of debris in the tire.”
CPS said the elk would have gotten stuck in the tire when it was younger before he got his antlers, or in the winter when he would have shed its antlers.
CPS said the saga of this particular elk highlights the need to people to live responsibly with wildlife in mind.
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