Rocky Mountain Officials Relocate Stolen Skull of Popular Bull Elk

by Amy Myers

Previously, Rocky Mountain National Park officials reached out to the public, hoping to find the persons responsible for stealing the skull of the beloved, deceased elk, Kahuna. Now, the park has happily informed its fans that they have relocated the stolen skull. Thanks to some tips on social media, officials quickly recovered the coveted remains.

“Rocky Mountain National Park Rangers want to thank the media, social media platforms as well as members of the local community in helping discover the whereabouts of this skull and antler,” the park stated in its release.

The park has yet to release any other information, as it’s still an ongoing investigation. It is unclear if officials found the individuals responsible for illegally removing the skull from the carcass in the first place.

Earlier this year, Kahuna passed away due to natural causes. Last mating season, the bull elk sustained an injury likely while locking antlers with another competitor. Since then, observers noticed that he became increasingly thinner. Soon enough, officials found the animal’s remains within the park’s territory, although he was missing one of his incredible antlers. They believe that he shed the massive antler shortly before he died.

Rocky Mountain Visitors Share Encounters with Elk Believed to Be Kahuna, Praise NPS for Finding Stolen Skull

Meanwhile, visitors and advocates of Rocky Mountain National Park expressed their relief that authorities found the skull of Kahuna. For years, so many hikers enjoyed observing and photographing the bull, so it’s only fair that the elk’s remains are able to decompose naturally, undisturbed by humans.

Now that Kahuna’s remains are back where they belong, Rocky Mountain visitors congratulated the park staff and even shared their own sightings of a large elk that they believed was Kahuna.

“I believe my wife and I met him on the Fern Lake Trail last October,” one visitor wrote. “He was slowly coming up a steep hill from the river below around sunset. He was taking his time grazing until he finally crossed the trail and decided to lie down and take a rest. We noticed that he was having trouble walking as he was favoring one of his legs. We’d never seen an elk of his size with antlers that big. Kahuna was an absolutely impressive elk to see in the wild. He was the living definition of the word ‘majestic’. We had also seen two moose on the same trail earlier in the day and Kahuna was almost as big as they were.”

They also shared a photo that they snapped of the bull. Like Kahuna, the creature had large thirds, or points closest to the base of his skull. This is what gave the elk his second nickname, Big Thirds.