AP

Elk roaming Colorado with tire around neck for 2 years freed

Oct 17, 2021, 8:39 PM

This undated photo provided by Colorado Parks and Wildlife shows an elusive elk that has been wande...

This undated photo provided by Colorado Parks and Wildlife shows an elusive elk that has been wandering the hills with a car tire around its neck for at least two years that has now finally been freed of the tire. The 4 1/2-year-old, 600-pound (272-kilogram) bull elk was spotted near Pine Junction southwest of Denver on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, and tranquilized, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. CPW officers had to cut the elk’s five-point antlers off to remove the encumbrance because they couldn’t cut through the steel in the bead of the tire. (Colorado Parks and Wildlife via AP)

(Colorado Parks and Wildlife via AP)

PINE, Colo. (AP) — Wildlife officials in Colorado say an elusive elk that has been wandering the hills with a car tire around its neck for at least two years has finally been freed of the obstruction.

The 4 1/2-year-old, 600-pound (270-kilogram) bull elk was spotted near Pine Junction, southwest of Denver, on Saturday evening and tranquilized, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Officers with the agency had to cut off the elk’s five-point antlers to remove the encumbrance because they couldn’t slice through 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,” officer Scott Murdoch said.

Murdoch and fellow officer Dawson Swanson estimated the elk shed about 35 pounds (16 kilograms) with the removal of the tire, the antlers and debris inside the tire.

Wildlife officers first spotted the elk with the tire around its neck in July 2019 while conducting a population survey for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and mountain goats in the Mount Evans Wilderness.

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.

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Elk roaming Colorado with tire around neck for 2 years freed