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ESTES PARK, Colorado — As temperatures cool and the holiday season approaches, it’s not unusual for shopping malls to get more crowded. One thing you don’t expect to see, however, is a massive bull elk checking out the local stores.
Just such a scene unfolded in Colorado earlier this month and the resulting footage was shared on Facebook. The video, posted by a user named John Burns, shows a bull elk casually escorting a group of female elk through a strip mall.
According to reports, the bizarre incident occurred in Estes Park, a town in northern Colorado that gets lots of wildlife visitors due to its proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park. In fact, elk are such a fixture in the area that the town hosts an annual Elk Fest.
But even longtime residents must’ve been amused as the bull strutted past a home interiors store and then turned to stare directly at stunned shoppers. The bull then cruised past a diner, letting out a loud bugle for his female friends.
While this video shows the entertaining side of elk encounters, they can easily turn dangerous. Last year, a tourist in Estes Park was gored by a bull after getting recklessly close to the animal.
The incident served as a reminder that while elk may appear docile, they should never be approached.
"We've had incidents, honestly, where people have tried to put their kids on elk’s backs to take pictures, pet them, selfies — very dangerous things to do," said Eric Rose of the Estes Park Police Department.