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“Animals Lovers” Feeding The Elk At Great Smoky Mountains National Park Receive Major Backlash

elk
Image by @touronsofnationalparks via Instagram

We call ourselves “animals lovers” but sometimes we do silly things with good intentions – like feeding the elk in a National Park. I am sure these two meant well and only wanted to help. But on the flip side, they are only creating problems.

First of All

elk
Image by @touronsofnationalparks via Instagram

If you see a bunch of wild animals near the road, do not climb out your car and walk towards them. Yes, they may seem harmless, but you are are really just disturbing the peace.

Second of All

Elk
Elk deer in Jasper National Park near Maligne Canyon. Image via Membeth, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

So getting close to wild animals is a big no-no but feeding them is really just piling on the wrong-doing. In this video the woman reaches out her hand to feed the elk closest to her. The animal does not seem interested.

As It Goes

american elk
Image by David J. Stang

To try get the animals attention, she starts to wiggle her hand around. She is starting to lose patience. She tries to get a little closer. Clearly invading the elk’s space, it looks up at her and then starts to turn away.

Lucky Lady

Image via Wikimedia – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

She is very lucky that the elk was mellow and not interested. That encounter could have easily taken a quick turn for the worst. She could have been seriously injured.

People Need To Use Their Brains

Elk
American elk. Image via Leupold James, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

One it was not enough that there are signs saying do not feed wild animals. The fact that they are grazing already and she feels the need to go up and try feed one while it is eating, absolutely blows my mind.

How do elk communicate?

elk at night
Roosevelt Elk. Image via depositphotos.

Elk use vocalizations, body language, and scent marking to communicate. Bulls are known for their bugling calls, especially during mating season. These sounds can carry over long distances and attract mates.

What do elk eat?

Elk. Image via depositphotos.

Elk are herbivores and their diet consists mainly of grasses, leaves, and bark. They also eat shrubs and other vegetation. Their diet changes with the seasons, depending on what is available.

How large can elk antlers grow?

Elk.
Image via depositphotos.

Elk antlers can grow up to four feet long and weigh up to 40 pounds. They grow new antlers each year, which are shed and regrown annually. The size of the antlers can indicate the elk’s age and health.

When is the best time to see elk in national parks?

Rocky Mountain Elk
Elk (Cervus canadensis) are highly adaptable animals.

Image by Byron Johnson via Unsplash

The best time to see elk is during the early morning or late evening. These times are when elk are most active. During the fall rut, or mating season, they are especially visible and vocal.

What should you do if you encounter an elk in the wild?

Image via Unsplash

If you encounter an elk in the wild, keep a safe distance. Do not approach or feed them. Elk can be unpredictable, especially during mating season or if they feel threatened.

What is the lifespan of an elk?

elk
Image via Pixabay

Elk can live up to 15 years in the wild. However, their average lifespan is typically around 10 to 12 years. Predation, disease, and harsh winters can affect their longevity.

What are some common predators of elk?

Roosevelt Elk
Young Roosevelt Elk.

Image by Y S via Unsplash

Common predators of elk include wolves, bears, and mountain lions. Calves are particularly vulnerable to these predators. Human hunting also impacts elk populations, but it is regulated to prevent overharvesting.

How do elk migrate?

Juvenile Elk
Juvenile male tule elk near Tomales Point, Point Reyes National Seashore, California. Image viaFrank Schulenburg, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Elk migrate to find food and suitable habitat. In the winter, they move to lower elevations where food is more accessible. In the summer, they return to higher elevations. This migration can cover long distances.

What should you pack for an elk-watching trip?

Elk
Mountain Bull Elk in autumn forest, Colorado, USA. Image via depositphotos.

For an elk-watching trip, pack binoculars, a camera, water, snacks, and appropriate clothing for the weather. Be prepared to hike and spend time in different habitats. Always respect wildlife and maintain a safe distance.

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