Children attacked, stomped at local park by aggressive cow elk, officials say

An 8-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy were attacked and injured by elk four days apart in a northern Colorado town.

Officials with the Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) warned residents and travelers who visit Estes Park — located at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park — of aggressive cow elk that attacked children in separate incidents.

In a May 31 press release, officials said that the girl was riding her bike in a neighborhood when a female elk charged towards her from 60 yards away.

Authorities said that the massive mammal quickly caught up to the child and stomped on her “multiple times.”

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Small herd of elk. (National Park Service)

The girl was taken to the hospital and later released, CPW said.

While investigating the incident, a wildlife official said that they responded to the area of the attack and found a cow elk and a young elk.

The cow elk became aggressive towards the wildlife official and the officer fired “non-lethal bean bag rounds” so they would move away from the park, according to the release.

“This is an unusual and unfortunate situation where a young girl was playing outside, far from the calf, and a cow elk became aggressive to protect her newborn,” said Jason Duetsch, Area Wildlife Manager for CPW. “While it is a natural reaction for cow elk to be very defensive during calving season, it is not often they hurt someone, especially a child. We’re happy the girl is recovering from her injuries and wish her continued healing.”

A sign at Colorado park warning of aggressive cow elks following two back-to-back attacks. (Colorado Parks & Wildlife)

Just four days later, a 4-year-old boy was attacked by another aggressive elk.

The boy was at a playground near Stanley Park around 1:30 p.m. on June 4, when a female cow elk “suddenly charged and stomped on him multiple times.”

Two elk calves were hidingnear where the boy was playing, according to the release.

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While the cow elk was scared off by a family member, the boy was taken to a hospital and later released.

When a CPW officer responded to the scene following the incident, they found multiple cow elk in the area.

The officer hazed the elk using “non-lethal bean bag rounds to encourage the elk to leave the park.”

A bull elk watches over a herd of cow elk in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Following the two attacks, the Parks of the Lake Estes Loop trail was closed, as well as park officials placing signs warning of aggressive cow elk in the area.

The CPW said that while newborn calves are immobile, cow elk can become aggressive towards perceived threats.

“People are encouraged to be aware while recreating outdoors that calves could be hidden nearby,” they said. “Cow elk can charge from many yards away. Please respect trail closures and signs warning of aggressive elk. Never disturb young wildlife, even if they appear to be alone, as the mother is most likely nearby searching for food.”

Sarah Rumpf-Whitten is a breaking news writer for Fox News Digital and Fox Business. 

She is a native of Massachusetts and is based in Orlando, Florida.

Story tips and ideas can be sent to [email protected] and on X: @s_rumpfwhitten.

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