Bull Elk Illegally Raised in Captivity Returns; ‘A Sad Ending’


A young bull elk was given a second shot at freedom after being illegally removed from the wild in the spring of 2008, but it appears things haven’t worked out and the elk is back in captivity.

According to an IDFG news release, the elk was captured as a calf and raised in captivity by a resident of Sweet, Idaho. The animal was eventually released months later following a Fish and Game investigation, and the elk vacated the area during the winter. But not for long..

Just this spring, Fish and Game officers began receiving phone calls from residents in the Sweet area who were concerned for the safety of their children as the 400-pound ungulate roamed the town, showing no fear around humans.

And with the upcoming fall rut, experts want to get a handle on this situation before it gets worse.

On August 19, the elk was tracked down, captured and transported to Bear Valley. With an abundance of elk in the area, wildlife officers hoped the young bull would find his place in one of the local herds. But on Sunday, September 1, Fish and Game officers located the bull about three miles from its original release site. The elk appears uninterested in its own kind, and instead approaches other humans who visit Bear Valley to view the animals.

It’s become increasingly apparent the young bull elk is too habituated to humans to make the journey back to its wild roots. Instead, it will go back to living out its life in captivity.

“A sad ending for what should be a wild animal,” Fish and Game said.

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