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An Elk Rescue Mission


By: Kris Hazelton

Last week, police dispatch received many calls of a bull elk who was tangled in some wire. The wire was wrapped tightly around the elk’s antlers, looped around his neck and across his body and around his legs. The wire posed an immediate danger as the wire was getting tighter around his neck and also, it posed a danger now that the rut is approaching. The elk are now beginning to spar with other bulls and the wire could become entangled around another bull’s antlers and the two would be dangerously tangled together!

Colorado Division of Wildlife Manager Rick Spowart was called to help this bull and after the elk was located, Rick prepared a tranquilizing dart to put the bull to sleep for a short time and remove the wire that was endangering his life.

It took just one shot to dart the bull to drug immobilize him. He ran a short distance away but the tranquilizer took effect quickly and he was soon down for the count. Then, Rick Spowart and DOW volunteer Jaynie Zmijewski quickly got to work with wire cutters and got the wire off from his antlers, around his neck and legs. The wire had inflicted several cuts on his body but those cuts will now heal.

After an assesment of the elk’s overall health, Rick gave the bull an injection of antibiotic and then a reversal drug to help wake him up.

As the bull woke up, he began to twitch and roll around, after about a half an hour, he rolled over and then began to try to stand up on wobbly legs.

Before long, he was back up and grazing on the grass and we’re sure he was happy to be wire-free!

This story reminds us that it is now time for everyone to check your yards for things the elk might entangle themselves in. See page 9 for more helpful tips and information on how to make your home a safer place for the wildlife.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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