Human interaction can be fatal to WNC elk
(Smoky Mountain News) A young male elk in Cataloochee Valley (Haywood County) was put down by park rangers last week for repeatedly rushing and taunting visitors. A love of junk food led the elk to lose its leeriness of humans. Despite a barrage of rubber bullets and pepper spray by park rangers in recent weeks, the elk couldn’t be convinced to leave people alone. Meanwhile, a bull elk in the Oconaluftee herd had its antlers sawed off by park rangers after it charged people and even smashed into a car during mating season. While the elks’ forays toward humans were deemed too close for comfort, the elk were actually the victims of people — not the other way around.
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