01. September 2019 · Comments Off on Problem elk in Sweet removed · Categories: Around The Campfire

On Monday Aug. 19, the Sheriff’s Office assisted Idaho Fish and Game officers with removing a problem bull elk from the Sweet area. This animal had been had raised by a citizen who assumed that the calf was abandoned.

Fast forward approximately one and a half years and this elk calf had grown into large and very strong young bull with nearly two-foot of antlers. Given his hand raising and close interaction with humans he has no fear of humans; he also has no concept of his size and strength. We had several reports from Sweet residents that the elk was in the road causing a hazard, walking up to people and even one report of a woman being licked on the face while she was seated in her vehicle. This elk had become a hazard and potentially dangerous as well.

With the fall coming and the rut nearing he had begun to show some mild aggression towards people. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game decided that the elk would be captured and released elsewhere away from humans. On the morning of Aug. 19, the elk was located in the front yard of a Sweet residence. After attempts to lead him into a stock trailer failed he became skittish and the use of a net gun was employed. This is a tool that IDFG uses to capture wild animals for collaring or studying. This allows IDFG to capture without harm to the animal or people and without the use of drugs to sedate the animal. The elk was captured and loaded into the trailer unharmed and was later released far from human habitation.

Unfortunately, too often, well intentioned people remove young wildlife from their natural habitat believing the animal to be abandoned or in need of help. Please, if you come across a wild animal that you think is abandoned or in need of assistance do not remove that animal from the wild. Report the information and location to your local IDFG office and allow the conservation officers investigate. Animals that are removed from the wild and allowed to be handled become accustomed to people can become dangerous when they reach adulthood. They also have difficulty associating and assimilating with their own species. Reintegration of these animals is rarely successful.

October 21 Update

A human-habituated bull elk from the Sweet, Idaho area has found a “forever” home in Texas.

After six weeks at a Fish and Game facility, the elk left Idaho early Thursday morning, ultimately bound for Texas A&M University where it will become part of the school’s wildlife management and veterinarian programs.

The elk will join a number of native and exotic wildlife species which roam the university’s animal paddock including white-tailed deer, fallow deer, zebra, addax antelope and ostrich.

“Of the alternatives available, A&M was the best place for this elk to land,” Fish and Game wildlife veterinarian Dr. Mark Drew noted. “He will be well cared for and enjoy a good life at this world-class facility.”

Drew and his staff spent countless hours securing the needed paperwork to get the elk to the lone star state. Brucella and tuberculosis testing, chronic wasting disease certification, veterinary visits, transport and import permits and USDA Veterinary Services approval from Washington D.C all needed to be conducted or in place before the elk could leave Idaho.

The 400-pound bull elk, illegally removed from the wild in the spring of 2018 and raised in captivity, became a potential safety risk to the community of Sweet this summer as it roamed the streets and showed no fear of humans. The elk was captured and released in Bear Valley with the hope that it would integrate with wild elk herds in the area. Instead, the animal sought out humans, resulting in its recapture. That’s when the search began for an accredited facility that could take the animal.

Fortunately, Texas A&M University answered the call.

“This young bull elk is in a good place now,” Drew noted.

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