Update (October 9): The elk ended up being donated to the Odawa Native Friendship Centre, who issued this press release earlier today titled “
The Friendship Centre Wapiti
The centre included this statement: “We are hopeful that in future events, a more structured process will be in place to set any wildlife animals into their natural habitats. Odawa feels that as more wildlife enters urban settings, Aboriginal experts in the field should be utilized in terms of proper protocol and holistic dealings. Odawa is grateful to have been visited by our brother wapiti and that this is a good omen, the wapiti is a sign of male protection for females and a sign of love.”
I’ve lived in Ottawa for 35 years and I’ve heard about bears in backyards, moose in schoolyards and deer in the Rideau Canal but I can’t remember ever hearing about an elk within city limits. (Unless you count the
out in Kanata.)
At 7:38am today, Ottawa Police responded to a call about a very large elk on the loose near Scott Street and the City Centre building. Seven hours later, the moose was shot dead despite efforts to tranquilize it. (
Here’s a statement from Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau.
(As an aside: While the police did have assistance from animal experts, it does seem strange to me that under the City of Ottawa’s current wildlife strategy, calls about large wild animals within city limits are handled by the police and not conservation officers or folks who are experts in dealing with wildlife. Apparently the
is a work in progress.)
Here are some notable comments from the Twitterverse, including first-hand tweets from the elk (
). A mix of the usual breaking news and snark.