ALPINE - Residents of a Utah County neighborhood want to know why the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources had to put down their adopted mascot.
Bob the elk had become quite the local celebrity in Alpine over the past few weeks. Residents couldn't get enough of him, stopping to snap pictures and sometimes giving him something to eat.
But according to Scott Root with the DWR, Bob was very sick. He was covered in lice and just fur and bones - down to half his healthy body weight. Root says Bob wouldn't have lasted another year in the mountains.
"We obviously would not have felt good about putting it back up in the mountains when it was so sick," he said.
Alpine residents tried to feed Bob, but Root thinks the bull elk only let them come close because he was dazed and unhealthy
"If that elk had been healthy, it would have been kind of a dangerous situation there because our officers wouldn't be able to approach it, people wouldn't have been able to approach it in general," he said. "It probably would have been a little bit aggressive with folks."
Root says he knows people didn't like the outcome, but says officials had no choice but to put the animal down.