As we have witnessed countless instances in which sea creatures are dangerously tangled in plastic waste, land animals also face such danger of man-made objects they come across in their environments.
One instance in particular happened in Colorado, where a young elk had to endure two years of torture with a rubber tire stuck around its neck. It wasn’t until recently that wildlife officials freed the poor deer.
Here is some video of this bull elk over the past two years. pic.twitter.com/R6t9nNPOyb— CPW NE Region (@CPW_NE) October 11, 2021
It’s still unknown to how exactly the four-and-a-half-year-old bull elk got in the situation where he got the tyre stuck around his neck. The poor elk was first spotted in 2019 with the tyre stuck around its neck when officers from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) were conducting a population survey of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and mountain goats in the Mount Evans Wilderness.
However after making it their mission to find the elk and help it, they did not manage to find it again.
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.— CPW NE Region (@CPW_NE) October 11, 2021
📸's courtesy of Pat Hemstreet pic.twitter.com/OcnceuZrpk
“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,” CPW officer Scott Murdoch said, continuing, “It is harder to get the further they are back in there and usually the further these elk are away from people, the wilder they act. That certainly played true the last couple of years, this elk was difficult to find, and harder to get close to.”
The elk was spotted numerous times on trail cameras after the first sighting. Although it showed that the tire didn’t seem to bother the elk’s ability to eat or drink, wildlife officials still feared that the elk might become tangled in trees, fencing, or even another elk’s antlers.
It wasn’t until 2020 when the elk and its herd moved closer towards residential areas which made it easier to be located by the wildlife officials.
On October 9, Murdoch and CPW officer Dawson Swanson the as able to safely tranquillised the 600-pound animal, and safely cut off its antlers. “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. We would have preferred to cut the tire and leave the antlers for his rutting activity, but the situation was dynamic, and we had to just get the tire off in any way possible.”
Luckily, the elk will grow a new set of antlers by springtime without a tyre.
“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. I was actually quite shocked to see how good it looked.”