Suffering elk now free of wire, maggots after G&F intervention
Animal was injured after it had lost its fear of humans
KINGMAN - One day after state Game and Fish officials met with residents living in the Hualapai Mountains to discuss the dangers of feeding wildlife, an elk injured at the beginning of the month - one that had lost its natural fear of humans - was finally found and helped.
The bull elk had wire wrapped around its antlers in the Pinion Pine community in the Hualapai Mountains. It was tranquilized, moved, and released.
"Seems a bit ironic that the morning after we held a community presentation the elk was finally located," said Zen Mocarski, the information and education program manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Region 3 office in Kingman.
On Friday morning the search for the elusive 6x6 bull elk came to an end. A resident who called Game and Fish said it was found at Carol Lane and DW Ranch Road. The wire was removed after the animal was tranquilized. The elk was then transported to a new location and released.
Mocarski explained that multiple Game and Fish personnel had made a minimum of seven trips to the area in search of the animal.
"We received a lot of calls, but most of the callers were not able to maintain eyes on the elk until we arrived," Mocarski said. "So, we were left having to search, which made it considerably more difficult."
He explained finding the elk was problematic due to an abundance of private property and thick vegetation.
"When you combine the two it made the search both difficult and frustrating," he said.
Mocarski said department personnel have been attempting to provide aid to the animal since the first calls were received three weeks ago. The elk was first spotted caught in a fence and was cut loose by people trying to help.
"The intentions of the people were good, but it would've helped a great deal if the first calls came to Game and Fish," Mocarski said. "We could have darted the animal at that moment and resolved the problem. But, apparently when residents learned the animal would be relocated, Game and Fish did not receive as many reports which delayed the capture of the elk."
Mocarski said the result was a suffering animal that developed such a bad infection around the ears that there were maggots inside. The antlers were removed, the wound was cleaned, and the infection was treated with antibiotics. A reversal was given prior to the move so the animal would be alert upon its release.
"Once we handled the animal it needed to be relocated," Mocarski said. "But it was necessary both from a public safety and ethical perspective. We had to consider the welfare of the animal, and due to feeding issues this elk had lost its fear of people. A large bull elk without a natural fear of people certainly constitutes a public safety concern."
With hunting season approaching, Mocarski said removal of the antlers will help buy the animal time to adjust to its new surroundings and become a truly wild elk once again.
For more information, visit http://www.azgfd.gov/urbanwildlife. You can also visit Region 3 on Facebook by searching for AZGFD Kingman.
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