Photo Shows Elk Calf Stuck in Ditch Before Being Rescued by Oregon Police Officer

A state police trooper in Oregon rescued an elk calf found trapped in a ditch on Sunday (January 16) after reports of a deer problem.

Oregon State Police (OSP) described the incident in a Facebook post that generated thousands of likes and many positive comments on the social media site.

The post said OSP Fish and Wildlife Senior Trooper David Rzewnicki was called to an address in the Knappa area, north of Portland, to reports of a deer that had fallen into a ditch.

However, on arrival it emerged that the deer in question was in fact a young elk that had become trapped in a ditch dug by the landowner to house underground wires.

"When Sr Trooper Rzewnicki arrived, he found the animal still alive and stuck in the ditch and that the 'deer' was a calf elk. The landowner thought that it had been in the ditch for at least 12-18 hours," the OSP Facebook post read.

The Pacific Northwest is home to two species of elk, namely the Rocky Mountain elk and the Roosevelt elk, named after former President Theodore Roosevelt. The need to protect the elk was one of President Theodore Roosevelt's driving concerns behind establishing the Mount Olympus National Monument.

The OSP post describing the rescue did not specify as to the species of the elk calf, but Roosevelt elk are typically found in Western Oregon, where the rescue took place, while Rocky Mountain elk are more common in the state's mountainous east.

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The state trooper proceeded to carry out a one-person rescue of the stricken calf.

Images included in the Facebook post showed the calf trapped in the narrow ditch, its legs protruding outwards in an awkward manner.

A subsequent photo showed Rzewnicki at the location, his uniform covered in mud from the rescue.

"After a few failed attempts to free the elk, Sr Trooper Rzewnicki got into the ditch, behind the calf elk's head, and was able to wrangle the calf elk out of a ditch. A now muddy Sr Trooper Rzewnicki reported that the calf elk appeared unhurt as it ran off into the woods," the OSP said on Facebook.

While the elk rescued by the OSP trooper was evidently a younger animal, adult elk found in the Pacific Northwest can grow over 1,000 pounds in weight.

There are an estimated 59,000 Roosevelt elk in Oregon state, with "Rosies," as they are also called, being the third-largest land animals in the U.S.

Roosevelt Elk in California
Roosevelt Elk seen in California. There are an estimated 59,000 of the animals in Oregon state. Getty Images/Buyenlarge / Contributor