Elk with car tyre stuck around its neck for two years is free at last

Wildlife officials in Colorado successfully remove obstruction from bull elk at fourth attempt this week

Wildlife officials in Colorado say an elusive elk that wandered the hills with a car tyre around his neck for at least two years has at last been freed.

The four-and-a-half-year-old, 270kg (600lb) bull elk was spotted near Pine Junction, south-west of Denver, on Saturday evening and tranquillised, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. It was the fourth attempt wildlife officers had made in the past week to try to capture and help him.

Officers with the agency had to cut off the elk’s five-point antlers to remove the object because they couldn’t slice through the steel in the bead of the tyre.

“We would have preferred to cut the tyre and leave the antlers for his rutting activity, but the situation was dynamic and we had to just get the tyre off in any way possible,” officer Scott Murdoch said.

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.

Story: https://t.co/WHfkfPuAck

📸's courtesy of Pat Hemstreet pic.twitter.com/OcnceuZrpk

— CPW NE Region (@CPW_NE) October 11, 2021

Murdoch and fellow officer Dawson Swanson estimated the elk was freed of about 16kg (35lb) with the removal of the tire, the antlers and debris inside the tyre.

“I am just grateful to be able to work in a community that values our state’s wildlife resource,” Swanson said. “I was able to quickly respond to a report from a local resident regarding a recent sighting of this bull elk in their neighbourhood. I was able to locate the bull in question along with a herd of about 40 other elk.”

Swanson and Murdoch were surprised to see its neck was in good condition after two years of chafing. “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.”

The rutting season played a role in helping officers find him. Murdoch said: “The rut definitely made him more visible. There was a bigger bull in the group he was with on Saturday, but he is getting to be a decent size bull.”

Wildlife officers first spotted the elk in July 2019 while conducting a population survey for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and mountain goats in the Mount Evans Wilderness. He has since spent the past couple of years travelling back and forth between Park and Jefferson counties.

They say they have seen deer, elk, moose, bears and other wildlife become entangled in a number of items, including swing sets, hammocks, clotheslines, decorative or holiday lighting, furniture, tomato cages, chicken feeders, laundry baskets, soccer goals and volleyball nets.

With Associated Press

Staff and agencies

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Plague of beetles raises climate change fears for American beauty

Colorado's distinctive lodgepole pine trees are under attack from a beetle infestation described by scientists as a "perfect storm" which could destroy 90% of the western American state's pine forests.

Dan Glaister in Minturn

19, Mar, 2007 @3:45 PM

Article image
Fisherman hands in giant pearl he kept under the bed for 10 years
Enormous pearl thought to have come from a giant clam could be the biggest in the world and, if authenticated, is estimated to be worth more than $100m

Elle Hunt

24, Aug, 2016 @3:05 AM

Article image
Millions of mysterious 'sea pickles' swamp US west coast
Huge and unexplained bloom has fishers racing to save their nets, and scientists hurrying to study the rare animal

Eleanor Ainge Roy

22, Jun, 2017 @1:30 AM

Article image
Holy mola: huge sunfish washes up in northern waters for first time in 130 years
Beached hoodwinker sunfish, which is two metres long, baffles locals on California beach

Kate Lyons

04, Mar, 2019 @2:37 AM

Article image
Beak fitness: New Zealand develops roadside gym for endangered keas
Conservationists want to stop the birds – dubbed the world’s smartest parrot – from wandering onto roads and begging humans for food

Eleanor Ainge Roy in Dunedin

11, Jan, 2018 @2:05 AM

Article image
Rare black bear seen in no-go zone between North and South Korea
Find shows ecological value of demilitarised zone after decades cut off from humans

Daniel Hurst in Tokyo

10, May, 2019 @1:27 PM

Article image
Kiwis to be reintroduced to New Zealand capital for first time in a century
Ancient, flightless, nocturnal birds have been absent from Wellington for more than a century

Eleanor Ainge Roy in Dunedin

13, Nov, 2018 @2:01 AM

Article image
World’s fattest parrot, the endangered kākāpō, could be wiped out by fungal infection
Seven of the birds native to New Zealand have died, with just 142 adults remaining

Charles Anderson in Nelson

13, Jun, 2019 @12:57 AM

Article image
Indonesia tsunami: volunteers rescue dozens of stranded turtles
After a harrowing week of human tragedy, rescuers find a moment of hope as they return more than 30 turtles to the sea

Jamie Fullerton in Banten province, Indonesia

28, Dec, 2018 @4:10 AM

Article image
Japan to resume commercial whaling after leaving IWC – report
Tokyo denies report by Kyodo news agency that government will reveal its decision by the end of the year

Justin McCurry in Tokyo and Graham Readfearn

20, Dec, 2018 @3:27 AM