Aggressive cow elk relocated to Flat Tops as search continues for her calf |

Aggressive cow elk relocated to Flat Tops as search continues for her calf

A cow elk confronts two dogs that have gotten too close to her and her calves in Rita Valentine Park. The elk was tranquilized Thursday and relocated to an area near the Flat Tops.

— An aggressive cow elk that spent the last week defending her young near a series of popular trails in Steamboat Springs was successfully tranquilized Thursday morning and relocated to a better home near the Flat Tops Wilderness Area.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers still were trying Thursday afternoon to also capture and relocate the elk’s newborn calf or calves.

“We’re going to continue to monitor out there and hopefully capture it,” Area Wildlife Manager Jim Haskins said.

He said there have been conflicting reports as to whether the elk has one or two calves.

Wildlife officials have only confirmed a sighting of one after an extensive search of the area.

The calf was on the M&H property near where Hilltop Parkway makes a hairpin turn near Rita Valentine Park.

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Haskins said anyone who sees the unaccompanied calf should call Parks and Wildlife at 970-870-2197 or 970-879-1090.

If the calf is captured, it would be taken to a local rehabilitation center.

“The calf will be all right for a couple days,” Haskins said. “But it’s obviously still young. It’s still nursing. It’s also vulnerable now.”

Because of this, wildlife officials are reminding trail users with dogs to follow the leash law and not let dogs run unattended in the area.

All of the trails at M&H and Rita Valentine have been reopened by the city.

Haskins said tranquilizing the mother and removing her became the best solution to what had become a dangerous situation near the trail systems.

The cow elk has spent the past several days defending her young from dogs and people who were getting too close.

She charged at people and got into physical fights with dogs.

Before that, she stood her ground in Rita Valentine Park.

Wildlife officials had hoped she would move away from the area on her own and join other elk.

Haskins said although the city closed trails around the animal, some cyclists and hikers with dogs ignored trail closure signs and got too close to the elk.

He said there was concern that because the elk was acting so aggressively, someone could end up getting hurt even with the closures.

Haskins said the elk was alert and fine after she was relocated this afternoon.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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