Wild Elk Freed From Tire Caught Round Its Neck After Two Years

Wildlife officers have managed to finally remove a car tire that had been stuck around a wild elk's neck for at least two years.

They are now urging residents to live responsibly and consider the impact that human waste can have on animals.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) staff had been aware of the bull elk for some time, having first spotted the animal with the tire around its neck back in July 2019 near Mount Evans.

Since then the elk had been spotted occasionally but would disappear for long periods of time, apparently traveling back and forth between Colorado's Park and Jefferson Counties.

After four attempts to catch up with this bull during the summer and three further attempts over the past week, CPW officers Dawson Swanson and Scott Murdoch were able to locate and tranquilize it on Saturday night local time, after a resident submitted a report.

Once the elk was down, Swanson and Murdoch set about removing the tire from the neck of the animal. Unfortunately, the officers were not able to cut through the tire due to a steel lining. This meant the only way to get it off was to remove the elk's antlers.

"It was not easy for sure," Murdoch said in a CPW press release. "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."

The officers were surprised at how uninjured the elk's neck looked despite the weight of the tire and the debris of pine needles and dirt inside of it. It's estimated that, between the removal of the tire and antlers, the elk is now around 35 pounds lighter than it was before.

The elk was estimated to be around four and a half years old, and weighed more than 600 pounds. Murdoch described the animal as "a decent size bull."

Once the tire was off, officials reversed the animal's sedation and it was set free.

According to the CPW press release, the animal probably got the tire caught around its neck when it was young and before it had antlers, or during the winter when its antlers had been shed.

"The saga of this bull elk highlights the need for residents to live responsibly with wildlife in mind," the CPW said.

It said residents should keep property free of obstacles that wildlife could get caught up in, with swing sets, hammocks, and decorative lighting all noted as potential hazards. People can report entangled wildlife to wildlife officials.

A stock photo shows a close-up of a wild moose looking off camera. Wildlife officials managed to remove a tire from an elk's neck after it was there for around two years. Harry Collins/Getty