Stubborn elk herd takes over golf course after human ‘chain’ drove it off Utah freeways

·2 min read
Screen grab from KUTV video

A creative plan to relocate a herd of elk that kept running along busy Utah freeways initially worked — except some of the elk came back about a week later, officials said.

About 20 elk migrated back down from Parleys Canyon onto the Salt Lake Country Club golf course, where they had previously set up camp during brutal winter months, according to a Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spokesperson.

The golf course is located on Country Club Drive in Salt Lake City and is adjacent to Foothill Drive and Interstate 80 — the busy freeway the herd dashed along at the end of January when it ventured down from the mountains to search for food, McClatchy News previously reported.

About 60 to 70 elk were spotted near I-80 and the I-215 interchange on Feb. 1, and 20 to 30 of them left the Salt Lake Country Club golf course to move closer to the freeways, where two died after they were hit by cars, McClatchy News previously reported. Two others were euthanized after they were injured.

Video showed them running across the freeway.

After the four elk were killed, state wildlife and transportation officials worked together to close down the highways and herd them across I-215 and I-80 back into the mountains, KSLTV reported.

Only two days later, three more elk were hit and killed, the station reported. Wildlife officials said most of the elk herd had gone to the golf course and stayed there for more than a month.

So state officials again closed down the highways and formed a “human chain” that drove the elk herd away from the freeway and back up into the mountains, KUTV reported.

This time, state officials also pushed the herd farther up the mountain with a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter, KUTV reported.

But it didn’t stick. Officials aren’t planning to move the elk that moved back down to the golf course and won’t decide how to move forward until it stops snowing, spokesperson Faith Heaton Jolley told McClatchy News in an email.

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