Colorado Parks and Wildlife took to Twitter on Tuesday to warn the public about aggressive cow elk in the area of Evergreen Lake in Evergreen, Colorado.
Video accompanying the warning shows a cow elk charging multiple people near a roadway and a walking path, including a passing runner. At one point, two people that seem to be carrying small dogs are briefly charged, resulting in them running into the road to escape. Keep in mind that dogs can be an irritant to cervid species.
Reports of aggressive cow elk are coming in from Evergreen Lake on Upper Bear Creek Road.— CPW NE Region (@CPW_NE) June 16, 2021
Cow elk will be exhibiting normal protective behavior of their young. You need to give wildlife extra space this time of year and be sure to keep dogs on leashes. pic.twitter.com/nwiLn4PIAU
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the aggressive behavior is likely because the cow elk in the area are protecting young. During this time of the year (and all times of the year), it's crucial to give animals their space. Mothers will likely be more defensive in the spring if their young are around. It's also worth noting that mother cervids can seemingly abandoned young, though it's more likely the young has been temporarily left behind on purpose while a mother finds food.
Never approach a wild animal and if you have any wildlife-related concerns, contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Curious about how far you should be from a wild animal? In most case, the 'rule of thumb' applies. Basically, this means that you should make a 'thumbs up' signal on a fully outstretched arm held directly ahead of you. Use your thumb to try to cover the animal. If you can cover it, you're likely far enough away. If you can't, then you're probably too close.