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Wildlife Photographer Gets Up-Close with Elk in Great Smoky Mountains

Watch the tense moments as a photographer gets up-close with an elk, and ends up affecting it greatly.

This amazing video shows a wildlife photographer, who was taking photos in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, having a very close encounter with a young elk bull.

The video is incredible, but it unfortunately led to the National Park Service putting the animal down due to multiple interactions and a perceived threat.

From the source video:

While photographing elk at sunrise in the Cataloochee Valley of Great Smoky Mountains National Park I turned around to see what appeared to be just a curious young bull sniffing a photographer’s camera. I snapped a few frames of the apparent harmless encounter.

But the elk became more interested in making trouble than simply the scent of a camera. He started physically harassing the photographer, escallating to full on head-butts.

I quickly switched the camera to video and let it roll (much of the time wondering when I should seriously consider intervening).

The footage is incredible. We can’t imagine getting this close to a bull, especially during the rut. The bull is obviously displaying territorial behavior, trying to give the veteran photographer “the boot” out of his zone, but much like the photographer we’re not sure we’d take the risk of standing up to try and move without getting some good space between us.

Unfortunately, it’s also an example of the increasingly important lack of distance between humans and animals, both literally and metaphorically these days. The elk was exterminated because of “a pattern of aggressive behavior that began prior to the incident documented in this video.”


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Wildlife Photographer Gets Up-Close with Elk in Great Smoky Mountains