Ovando elk video goes viral, elk euthanized


Ovando elk video goes viral, elk euthanized

MISSOULA, Mont. - Wildlife officials have recently received reports of a bull elk chasing motorists on the highway. 

NBC Montana learned the elk that was comfortable around some humans has been euthanized.

We wanted to find out what spurred game wardens with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to put the elk down, so we drove to Ovando Monday afternoon to talk to residents.   

When a video of the elk was put onto YouTube it went viral, and if you take a look at what the elk is doing, you'll understand why people are so fascinated.

People living in the Ovando area say this young elk had been handfed and was very friendly towards people; Ovando resident Glenn Collins tells us it even licked him once.

"He got up very close to me, knocked my hat off and I reached over and had my arm around his neck," says Collins.  "Then up the side of my head he licked me!"

Collins tells NBC Montana when he met the elk some call 'Boppy' he didn't find the animal threatening.

"When this elk came up beside me it wasn't any different than a cow being there," he chuckles. 

But game wardens tell us the elk had become too used to humans and was becoming aggressive.

We spoke to several Ovando residents about the local elk.  Some tell us they're outraged that FWP would euthanize the elk while others say the elk was posing a danger to people driving on the road and in the community.

Collins tells us he's not upset with game wardens for euthanizing the elk, but he says it's a shame the elk couldn't be relocated.

"If they could have moved it and they didn't then I think they should have," Collins tells us.  "If they had no options I think that they did the only thing that they could."

Game wardens tell NBC Montana the young elk was held by someone on private land -- some say for its own protection -- but wardens want to remind the public that it is illegal to keep a wild animal as a pet.

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