Colorado wildlife officials on Saturday finally removed a car tire from the neck of a bull elk, which had been wandering for at least two years with the obstruction, according to authorities.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) officers were able to tranquilize the bull elk and remove the tire around 8:00 p.m., Saturday night on private property after a local resident reported seeing the elk in their neighborhood, according to CPW.
Officers Dawson Swanson and Scott Murdoch cut the antlers off the bull elk to remove the tire. Murdoch said the tire was “full of wet pine needles and dirt,” estimating the tire had roughly 10 pounds of debris.
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.
📸’s courtesy of Pat Hemstreet pic.twitter.com/OcnceuZrpk
— CPW NE Region (@CPW_NE) October 11, 2021
“It was tight removing it,” Murdoch said in reference to removing the tire off the neck despite cutting the elk’s antlers. “It was not easy for sure, we had to move 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.”
Murdoch said despite wearing the tire for two years, the elk’s neck didn’t appear to sustain too much damage, suffering a “small open wound maybe the size of a nickel or quarter.” (RELATED: Activists Reportedly Intercept, Rescue 68 Dogs En Route To Slaughterhouse At Meat Festival)
The elk is about four-and-a-half years-old weighing more than 600 pounds.
Wildlife officers attempted to tranquilize the elk at least three previous times over the last week to remove the tire, according to CPW. The elk had spent the past two years on the run, traveling between Park and Jefferson Counties and disappearing for long periods of time, according to authorities.
The elk was first sighted back in July 2019 with the tire around its neck, with two trail cameras eventually picking up the elk three times in 2020, according to CPW.
Authorities say the elk likely got the tire caught on its neck when it was young and had no antlers or during the winter when it shed its antlers.