An elk roaming the hills of the US state of Colorado with a tire around its neck for two years has finally been freed, wildlife officials say.
The four-and-a-half-year-old bull elk had to be tranquilised and have its antlers removed, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officers said.
It was the fourth attempt officers had made within a week to free the elk.
The saga of the bull elk with a tire around its neck is over. Thanks to the residents just south of Pine Junction on CR 126 for reporting its location, wildlife officers were able to free it of that tire Saturday.
📸’s courtesy of Pat Hemstreet pic.twitter.com/OcnceuZrpk
— CPW NE Region (@CPW_NE) October 11, 2021
“It was tight removing it,” said Scott Murdoch, adding the elk’s neck had a small wound and was missing some hair.
“We would have preferred to cut the tire and leave the antlers for his rutting activity,” Mr Murdoch said in a statement on Monday, explaining that officers were unable to cut through steel in the bead of the tire.
He said the tire had also filled with pine needles and dirt and it would have been a lot of weight to carry around.
After removing it late on Saturday, Mr Murdoch said the elk was in surprisingly good shape: “I was actually quite shocked to see how good it looked.”
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
The animal, which officers said weighed more than 600lb (270kg), was later recorded several times roaming between Park County and Jefferson County, but would disappear for long periods during the winter.
Previous attempts to tranquilise the bull elk were hindered because wildlife officers were unable to get close enough and other elks were nearby, but the rutting – or mating – season made it possible, Mr Murdoch said. [BBC]
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