By Danielle Chavira

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A cow elk captured the attention of thousands in Colorado and around the world as the wild animal started giving birth on Lookout Mountain in Jefferson County.

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Colorado is home to more than 280,000 elk — the largest population in the world of its kind, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

CBS4 first saw the cow laying on the hillside from a stationary camera which feeds back live images to the station in downtown Denver.

The cow, while she’s obviously unaware of the camera, gave the audience some up, close and personal views of the process.

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As the night went on, many had questions about the ordeal. CPW says the cow is struggling, but they will not intervene or assist with the natural process. They add “it is critical we respect the boundaries between people and wild animals.”

CBS4 did some research and found cow elk tend to stay and travel in a loose herd, until a pregnant elk is ready to give birth. That’s when she will move away from that herd and find higher ground to have her calf.

Bull elk (the males) will not stay with this herd, and instead either live a “bachelor” life or live alone. Their antlers can be between four and nine feet tall.

Elk calves can typically weigh around 35 pounds at birth.

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Danielle Chavira is a digital producer for CBS4. She’s an avid runner and novice flyfisher. Connect with her on Twitter @danielle_c8.