Earlier in the Christmas season, a bull elk in Banff, Alberta, lost its antlers after a string of about four and a half metres of lights and some candy cane decorations got tangled in the elk’s antlers and had to be removed by Parks Canada employees.
The elk is the second of two animals this year to get caught up in holiday displays in Canada. “Every couple of years we’ll get an animal that’s got Christmas lights on him,” Blair Fyten, a resource management officer with Parks Canada, told the CBC. “Sometimes they’re able to shed the lights themselves, and sometimes they’re wrapped up so tight that we have to intervene.”
Parks Canada received a call from a resident who observed the bizarre sight and recognized that the lights could get wrapped around the elk’s legs or get the elk twisted up in a bush. In this case, instead of tranquilizing the elk to untangle the lights, the park officials decided to remove his antlers to avoid the situation repeating itself.
“This elk is one that frequents the edge of the town site, and we just thought there could be another possibility that he could find himself wrapped up in some more Christmas lights,” Fyten said.
Elk shed their antlers every year in March or April, he added. They’re also less important to the elk after the end of mating season in September.
Parks Canada suggests that those who live in areas where deer and elk regularly visit should avoid putting lights on their shrubs and trees where the animals may feed, and stick to house lights instead.