I am having a WTF? reaction to this news story I picked up on Twitter from the Sacramento Bee. It's about something that happened in Boulder, CO. I embedded the video below. It has a lot of ads but it's kind of worth it to get to the very strange people with their odd reaction to a local event -- a police officer shot a trophy elk in the city limits. And 75 people came out and held candles and sang protest songs.
I want to be clear that I do not understand a single person in this story. The police officer that shot the elk makes no sense to me. The comments of the people they interview who loved the elk make even less sense to me. They thought the elk loved them?! You guys, it's an ELK! It's... I just don't... what... Such a different reaction from where I live where the assumption is that the animal is diseased and dying when it comes to my house day after day, not that it's protecting me. In fact the advice I got was not to go outside without a live oak bat in my hand until this rabies/brain worm/fever question is answered.
**Update: I had to delete the embedded video because it won't stop playing ads. Here's the link to it.
I have not seen Thirsty since Saturday. I did find a bobcat track in my yard yesterday, right on top of a deer track. I am now considering every possible rare and unlikely disease and injury scenario for my local wildlife. I have not seen any crows or vultures gathering. No indication that Thirsty has died anywhere nearby. If I do find him dead you can be assured I will not burn candles or sing Martin Luther King songs over him (I don't even know the words past "we shall overcome.") I will be sad that such a nice mature deer met a bad end, but that's not the worst I've seen. I once found two deer carcasses joined at the antlers. If I found an unfortunate pair like that I would almost certainly do what that officer did and shoot them to give them a more humane death. (If they had JUST gotten stuck I bet you could tranquilize them and cut off one antler each to separate them.) If I found Thirsty growling and gnashing his teeth with rabies I'd shoot him too, even if it meant spending the rest of the day figuring out how to drag his body away from my house. It's a tough life being a big buck. But they have to die for the next one to have the chance to grow up. Their body goes back into the web of life and it's all natural and understandable.
These things that happen in human communities confuse me. I have a better chance of figuring out if Thirsty has a brain abscess than figuring out that man who thought that elk loved him.