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After two years of tracking an elk that was spotted with a tire around its neck, Colorado Park and Wildlife officers have freed the deer of it.
According to a press release from the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife, the elk was first spotted with the tire in July 2019 in the Mount Evans Wilderness, an area that’s around 40 miles outside of Denver, Colorado.
After making several attempts to rescue the elk, which is estimated to be around 4.5 years old, wildlife officials were able to capture the animal this weekend. Wildlife officials Dawson Swanson and Scott Murdoch tranquilized the animal, before cutting the elk’s antlers off in order to remove the tire.
“It was tight removing it,” Murdoch said. “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. Fortunately, the bull’s neck still had a little room to move.”
After successfully freeing the elk of the tire, Swanson and Murdoch were surprised to see the condition of its neck.
“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 explained. “I was actually quite shocked to see how good it looked.”
Murdoch also explained why they decided to move forward with cutting the elk’s antlers rather than 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,” Murdoch said.
Meanwhile, Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife reminded its community to value the state’s wildlife resource.
“The saga of this bull elk highlights the need for residents to live responsibly with wildlife in mind,” the department said in a statement. “That includes keeping your property free of obstacles that wildlife can get tangled in or injured by,”