Head-Butting Elk Gets EuthanizedBy: Gary Street - November 19, 2013
I guess playful head butting can be considered dangerous to some.
Remember the YouTube viral video featuring an elk headbutting a photographer who was taking pictures of him? Well after this incident and after authorities at the Great Smokey National Park found the same elk had been approaching people on the same road, decided to euthanize him to protect the locals.
“The decision to euthanize the elk was a first for the park.” spokeswoman Dana Soehn said. “The video ‘was the first incident that we know of that the elk engaged in physical contact’ with a visitor.” Soehn said. “The footage ‘was a critical step in the decision-making’ to euthanize.”
Obviously, there have been strong reaction to this. Found here on Twitter:
According to the park officials, due to visitors feeding the elk, this alowed the elk to associate people with food, thus losing the fear and approaching people. Seeing the video, the photographer was lucky, but the elk was not at fault. Basically, if visitors at the park had not tried to feed the elk, something we have been told so often when we were children visiting the zoo, not to feed the animals, this elk would have been enjoying life today.
A hard lesson to learn, even harder for innocent wildlife.