Wildlife officials in Colorado in the United States freed a male elk of a tire, which had been around his neck for at least two years.
Officials from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) located the animal on Saturday. They tranquilized the elk and cut off his antlers before removing the tire. They had to cut his antlers because they couldn’t cut through the steel in 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,” wildlife officer Scott Murdoch said in a statement.
The animal, who weighed 270 kilos (600 pounds), looked good, Murdoch said. “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, he looked really good,” he added.
The elk was first spotted with the tire around his neck in July 2019, but wildlife officials had difficulty finding him over the years in the Colorado wilderness.
At the time he was first spotted, the elk was probably two years old, CPW said. They said the elk probably got his head stuck before he had antlers or during the winter when he shed his antlers.
The tire with the dirt and pine needles in it weighed around 16 kilos (35 pounds).
CPW said wildlife officers have seen deer, elk, moose, bears, and other wildlife animals become entangled in many man-made objects like hammocks, clothing lines, holiday lighting, furniture, laundry baskets, soccer goals and volleyball nets.
They added that the story of this elk should remind residents to live responsibly with wildlife in mind and remove objects that animals can get entangled in.
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