ESTES PARK, Colo. (CBS4)– Two women were rushed to the hospital and an elk was killed on Thursday after wildlife clashed with humans in the popular tourist destination of Estes Park.
A spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife told CBS4 the elk was killed after it gored two different women on Thursday morning. Both attacks took place near Performance Park in western Estes Park.
Those who were sleeping in a motel near where the attack happened said a herd of elk were walking through the area right before.
“There was bugling. You could hear bugling all around,” said Mike Anderson, a town visitor who witnessed the response. “They were kind of chasing each other back and forth along the bank.”
“There (were) a lot,” said Paloma Talevera, who lives near where the attack happened.
“It was awesome,” Anderson said. “Until, unfortunately, we heard about that (attack).”
For unknown reasons, the bull elk charged two women on separate occasions.
“I did hear a woman crying, A woman screaming.” said Andrea Garcia, a nearby resident.
“The elk jumped on (one of the victims) and hit her face,” Talevera said.
Both women were rushed to the hospital, as wildlife officials searched for the aggressive elk.
“There was elk feeding off the trees right next to the ambulance,” Anderson said. “And then, I hear a gunshot.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers killed the elk which had been previously tagged. A spokesperson said the animal had a history of aggression.
The same spokesperson said public safety is a top priority, which was never going to be jeopardized again with the same animal. Though many in the community were irritated by the decision, Parks and Wildlife said the correct decision was made.
Both women were released from the hospital. CBS4’s Dillon Thomas briefly spoke with one of the victims. Her head was heavily covered with bandages.
While many said they were happy the women were not killed, some said they were still bothered about the elk losing its life without investigation into whether the animal was provoked.
“I just feel bad for the women,” Anderson said. “And, I feel bad the elk had to be put down.”
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.