Despite Disney’s take on the animals, elk are not exactly warm and fuzzy creatures. Especially this time of year. Rut season is in full swing and elk are especially aggressive as they compete for female attention. Onlookers at Colorado’s Estes Park got a taste of this aggression when several bull elk came too close to a crowd.
Park service members are warning visitors to stay clear of wild animals. This was after several tourists attempted selfies with some elk. The creatures are gorgeous, albeit intensely aggressive right now. In recent days, several bull elk have been seen rushing crowds, warning them to stay back.
Despite the animals’ overt aggression, several people attempted selfies with the elk in some wild footage.
Onlookers can be seen jumping back as a massive bull elk rushes forward.
“They can be extremely aggressive, especially if they think somebody or something is threatening his group of females,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife Manager Chase Rylands said, according to Colorados’s local station Fox 31.
Despite numerous warnings from officials, people couldn’t seem to heed the warnings.
“You’d think it would be common knowledge not to approach these animals,” he says, “but you still have people doing that.”
Tourists seemed to ignore the caution, despite the animals’ enormous size and intimidating antlers.
“It feels like it’s escalated quite a bit,” local resident Kris Hazelton said, “and people seem to be ignoring the rules a lot more and getting closer and closer to the animals.”
The local went on to add that every Fall people “seem to get too close” even though elk could cause serious injuries.
Officials warned that people are too close to elk if they’re within an arm’s length. It’s imperative, especially this time of year, to stay back and out of harm’s way.
Elk Herd Stampede Through Estes Park
While Estes Park is a popular tourist spot, visitors to the beautiful Colorado area still need to be cautious. During recent weeks, many park-goers witnessed a stampede of elk running down a popular path.
Video footage shows the elk galloping down a popular hiking spot as onlookers gasp in awe. The scene was definitely beautiful – but could have been dangerous.
The sunny morning and gorgeous grassy path boasted a lake and a mountainous backdrop. A visitor was capturing the serene setting when the elk came trampling down. Luckily, the tourist stayed back and let the elk move past, without incident.
Additionally, the wild animals have had a tough year. Between depleted water sources and drought, there have been many herds who suffered in the west.
In one area of California, several elk faced starvation before a group of almost 100 volunteers traveled to their sanctuary to bring them water.
With extreme temperatures and wildfires abound, this has been an ongoing issue all summer. In addition to water depletion, the animals also faced starvation as not enough forage areas remained intact.
“Poor forage quality is the underlying cause of these elk population declines. Although the National Park Service (NPS) and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) believe the elk population declines are drought-related, there is no evidence that the population decline is due to dehydration or a lack of water,” according to the National Park Service announcement.