Slow down to save wildlife
It was a sad day last weekend at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale when the elk calf we all had been pulling for had to be mercifully put down by a DOW officer.
From our balcony 25 feet away our family became so attached to this precious little guy struggling for survival after being abandoned by his mom. Elvin had an injured leg and probably was hit by a car according to an outfitter friend. At times she seemed to be getting stronger, and we think she might even have tried to rejoin the herd about a week ago, but just could not keep up. She was to be taken to the Scheneegas Wildlife Rehabilitation in Silt but only if the DOW “assessment” would give the OK that she was not too far gone. The agent spoke to her so tenderly and with utmost respect, asking “do you have any fight left in you little guy, come on show me something” as he encouraged her to stand. Bless her heart, she couldn’t get up, weakened by the hard, cold winter, lack of food and the injury.
I remarked to the officer that he must really dislike this part of his job. “Yes, I joined DOW to save them not to kill them” was his reply, but he also said, “It is far worse though when I have to put down a perfectly healthy animal because of something a person may have done.” God, we wanted so badly to be able to save just this little one ” especially after counting 13 elk recently slaughtered in the median on I-70 just past Glenwood Canyon last Friday. Just so you know, CSP has asked for a doubling and tripling of fines for traffic infractions this legislative session. This is an effort to decrease accidents, which, of course, includes wildlife collisions. Please contact your representative and let them know you support this measure. We all need to slow down this time of year. If you are not driving 10 mph below the posted speed limit between sunset and sunrise you are part of the problem and not the solution.
The Buddy Program rang in the holiday spirit with their annual Gingerbread House Workshops in Aspen and Carbondale.