Wild elk freed from tires captured around its neck after two years
Wildlife officers have finally managed to remove a car tire that has been stuck around the neck of a wild elk for at least two years.
They are now urging residents to live responsibly and consider the impact of that human waste It can be on animals.
Colorado parks and wildlife CPW staff have been aware of the elk’s appearance for some time, after they first spotted the animal with the tire around its neck in July 2019 near Mount Evans.
Since then, the elk has been spotted occasionally but has been disappearing for long periods of time, apparently traveling back and forth between Colorado Park and Jefferson counties.
After four attempts to catch that bull over the summer and three more over the past week, CPW officers Dawson Swanson and Scott Murdoch were able to locate and calm him Saturday evening local time, after a resident filed a report.
Once the elk fell, Swanson and Murdoch proceeded to remove the tire from the animal’s neck. Unfortunately, the officers were unable to cut the frame due to the steel lining. This means that the only way to remove them is to remove the elk antlers.
“It certainly wasn’t easy,” Murdoch said in a CPW press release. “We would have preferred to cut the tires and leave the pods on for his choppy action, but the situation was dynamic and we just had to remove the tire any way we could.”
The officers were surprised by the appearance of the deer’s neck uninjured despite the weight of the tire and the remains of pine needles and dirt inside. It is estimated that between removing the frame and the horns, the elk is now about 35 pounds lighter than it used to be.
The elk’s lifespan was estimated to be about four and a half years, and it weighed more than 600 pounds. Murdoch described the animal as a “fit-sized bull”.
Once the frame was off, officials reversed the anesthesia for the animal and it was released.
According to the CPW press release, the animal likely hung the tire around its neck when it was young and before it had horns, or during the winter when its horns were shed.
“This bull’s saga highlights the population’s need to live responsibly with wildlife in mind,” the Environmental Protection Agency said.
She said residents should keep the property clear of obstacles where wildlife could get stuck, with swing sets, hammocks, and decorative lighting all flagged as potential hazards. People can report tangled wildlife to wildlife officials.