Feeding elk

Montreal man captures daughter’s reaction to close encounter with bull elk

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If you weren’t sure how big a bull elk is, seeing its head next to a toddler will give you a good idea.

It’s not a comparison you’re likely to see often, but last week, Montrealer David Freiheit captured a video of his two-year-old daughter feeding a bull elk as it poked its head through the rear window of the family car.

Freiheit and his family were headed to Montebello, Quebec for the weekend when he spotted a sign for Parc Omega, a drive-through wildlife park about 140 kilometres west of Montreal.

“I never knew the place existed,” he told CBC News. “It was awesome. The girls loved it.”

They bought a bag of carrots at the gift shop at the park entrance, and once they drove in, he says they were “swarmed by animals.”

Along with elk, the park is home to deer, wild turkey, and bison. The park’s website makes note that some of the other animals, such as wolves, bears, coyotes, and arctic foxes, are separated from the car trail.

Freiheit had never seen more than a couple of deer in his life, and he was amazed at how gentle the animals were considering their size.

“Those elk were surprisingly big, with eyeballs the size of a small baseball…or a clementine. They were more docile than any animal I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Although the animals are relatively docile, the park’s safety instructions do advise keeping your windows closed so that the animals don’t stick their entire heads inside the vehicle.

But according to CBC News, Freiheit wasn’t concerned about the elk getting too rough with his little one: “They have soft lips and didn’t use their teeth for anything,” he said.

He was more concerned about navigating around the animals to ensure their safety, and of course, the carrot supply.

“We had to make sure not to use them all up at the beginning,” he said. “We kept some for the animals at the end, too.”

For more information about Parc Omega, visit www.parkomega.ca/en

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