A bull elk that has been roaming around Colorado with a tire around its neck for the past two years is finally free.
On Saturday, wildlife officers were able to tranquilize the elk and free the animal from the weight around its neck.
Dawson Swanson and Scott Murdoch with Colorado Parks and Wildlife responded Saturday evening when a resident near Pine Junction called to report a sighting.
“I was able to quickly respond to a report from a local resident regarding a recent sighting of this bull elk in their neighborhood. I was able to locate the bull in question along with a herd of about 40 other elk,” Swanson said, according to a release from CPW.
KDVR reported that officers had previously attempted to tranquilize the elk earlier in the week, as well as several times earlier in the year, but all were unsuccessful.
“Tranquilizer equipment is a relatively short-range tool and given the number of other elk moving together along with other environmental factors, you really need to have things go in your favor to have a shot or opportunity pan out,” Swanson said.
Once the bull elk, estimated to be about four and a half years old and weighing over 600 pounds, was hit, officers worked quickly to remove the tire.
“It was tight removing it,” Murdoch said. “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 tire. Fortunately, the bull’s neck still had a little room to move.”
Unfortunately, they had to cut the elk’s antlers in order to remove the tire, “but the situation was dynamic and we had to just get the tire off in any way possible.”
Despite having a tire around its neck for two years, the officers were surprised at the condition of the elk.
“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.
Once the tire was removed, the officers gave the bull elk a reversal to wake it up from sedation and it was on its feet within minutes.
Now, with the tire off the elk’s neck, officers believe several pounds of weight was shed.
“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 of debris in the tire.”
Thank you to everyone who helped free the elk!
Please share this as a reminder of how dangerous our trash can be for animals.