CPW, police team up in Estes Park to free elk out of fencing

A bull elk with mesh fencing entangled in his antlers was tranquilized near a busy traffic intersection in Estes Park, where police and wildlife officers freed the beast of his burden.

At about 11 a.m. Tuesday locals reported the distressed elk and police and Colorado Parks and Wildlife teamed up to help the elk, according to a CPW news release.

At about 12:45 p.m. police stopped motor vehicle traffic near the intersection of U.S. Highway 36 and Colorado 7 and the bull was tranquilized. A pair of wildlife officers and a police officer cut about 30-feet of fencing from around the sedated elk’s antlers and the animal was taken out of Estes Park and released into natural habitat. At about 2:30 p.m. the elk received a reversal agent to counter the tranquilizer and he ran off into the wild.

Other than being exhausted, the elk will likely experience a full recovery, CPW said.

“Land managers rope off areas to try to prevent elk from damaging” property, said District Wildlife Manager Clayton Brossart in the news release. “It is an aspect of the landscape and shows the intersection of humans and wildlife in our urban interface. We were grateful for the opportunity to free the elk of the fencing on its antlers and remove it from the dangerous intersection. We also want to thank the local residents who reported this to us immediately, so we were able to have a quick response and freed the elk without it sustaining any serious injury.”

Elk are known to gather in big numbers in Estes Park at this time of year.

CPW is in the midst of a five-year study to better understand elk movements and land use in Colorado. Results will help wildlife managers determine possible management strategies related to herd management plan objectives and habitat use.

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