EVERGREEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado wildlife managers have issued a warning after several close calls in Evergreen involving elk and people. Cellphones captured two of the run-ins last week and they were posted on YouTube.
A walking path along Evergreen Lake is very popular and warnings have gone up as cow elk and their calves continue to have some very close calls with people there. Wildlife officials say they expect more to occur.
One video posted to YouTube captured the moment a jogger with his dog came too close to a cow elk.
“He’s pretty lucky. I certainly would not take a chance like that myself,” Jennifer Churchill with Colorado Parks and Wildlife said. “These animals can be 600 to 800 pounds. You are no match for a wild animal when it is defending its young.
“What people need to understand is they need to keep their distance.”
Churchill says that type of interaction is exactly what wildlife managers fear most.
“It really frustrates us because we understand the excitement about wildlife, we want people to embrace wildlife and look at it and go enjoy it,” she said. “But we need that respect and we need to have this line so that those animals can live their wild lives and we can enjoy them from a respectful distance.”
The distance just depends on the situation.
“Unfortunately a lot of these elk are very acclimated to humans, and so they can seem very tame,” Churchill said. “Unfortunately people have been getting a little too close.”
Another red flag Churchill pointed out was the other animals in one of the videos.
“Too many dogs … dogs and wildlife don’t mix,” she said.
Wildlife managers say because of the high water at Evergreen Lake the elk seem to be staying a lot closer to the path.