Elk Freed from Two-Year Struggle with Tire Around Neck Thanks to Wildlife Officials

In a heartwarming and remarkable rescue mission, a bull elk in Colorado has been freed from the weight of a tire that had been cruelly trapped around its neck for over two years. The tire was a heavy burden that this resilient animal had been carrying, but thanks to the dedication of wildlife officials and concerned individuals, this young elk has been given a new lease on life.

The Tire’s Unfortunate Capture:

The story unfolds in the beautiful landscapes of Colorado, where a 4-year-old elk, weighing around 270 kilograms, had been carrying a tire around its neck for years. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officers first spotted this unfortunate elk during a wildlife survey in July 2019. Despite their efforts, the elk managed to elude capture, a testament to its wild and elusive nature.

The Elusive Elk:

Tracking down and capturing this elk was no easy task. The farther these wild animals are from human habitation, the more elusive and “wild” they become, making the task even more challenging. However, CPW officers remained committed to helping the distressed elk.

The Successful Rescue:

After years of diligent efforts, a perfect opportunity finally presented itself. The elk was located in the Pine Junction area, thanks to reports from vigilant locals. Wildlife officer Dawson Swanson responded promptly and, with the help of tranquilizer darts, successfully subdued the elk. This allowed the tire to be safely removed from around its neck.

Challenges Faced During Removal:

Removing the tire proved to be a challenging task. The steel band attached to the tire prevented officers from simply cutting it off. To free the elk, the officers had to take the unusual step of removing its antlers to create enough space to slide the tire over its head. While this was not the ideal solution, it was necessary to ensure the elk’s immediate release from this burden.

A Hopeful Outcome:

Despite the extraordinary ordeal, the elk showed remarkable resilience. It was back on its feet mere minutes after the tire was removed. Wildlife officer Scott Murdoch noted that the elk had suffered minimal injuries, considering the duration of the tire’s entrapment. His coat had some tear marks and a small open wound, but overall, he appeared to be in good health.

A Second Chance:

This elk will have to wait until the next mating season to fully engage in the rut and compete for mates, as the removal of its antlers prevents it from participating this year. However, with the tire finally gone, it has a brighter and lighter future ahead.


The story of the elk’s tire entrapment and eventual rescue serves as a poignant reminder of the impact of human-made items on wildlife. It is a testament to the dedication of wildlife officials and the importance of responsible coexistence with the natural world. Together, we can protect and respect the creatures we share our planet with, ensuring that they can thrive in their natural habitats.


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