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Elk dies after vehicle collision in Jasper

Photo provided by Parks Canada.

by Evan Matthews | reporter@fitzhugh.ca

An elk was killed in Jasper after being hit by a car, causing a minor stampede in the townsite.

A motorist clipped a young elk in a herd crossing Connaught Drive on Jan. 29.

“This spooked the herd as a whole,” Parks Canada spokesperson Steve Young said.

Witnesses told the Fitzhugh they saw the elk hit in front of the Greyhound bus stop.

The vehicle didn’t stop and hit the elk, according to witnesses, saying the elk bounced off the ground and attempted to stand up. Its legs broke underneath it, witnesses said.

“Parks Canada staff responded and located the elk hit by the vehicle,” said Young. “It was unable to get to its feet again and was humanely put down.”

As a result of the original collision, witnesses saw the “spooked” herd “stampede” through town.

Parks Canada confirmed a second animal was injured after hitting a window of the Raven Bistro on Patricia Street.

Raven co-owner Ashley Kliewer says one of her waitresses witnessed the incident.

“She more heard it,” says Kliewer. “It was super loud and happened very fast. An elk came running across from the information centre and crashed into our front doors.”

The elk didn’t cause any damage, according to Kliewer, as it just knocked the sandwich board sign over and left a large mud smear to be cleaned off the door.

“But people were very surprised.”

Parks could not locate the second elk, according to Young.

Herds of elk are common in Jasper at this time of year, as the species use the townsite to escape from natural predators on the landscape. Aside from driving carefully, Parks advises motorists to slow down, as animals could run out into your path at any time; warn other motorists by flashing your hazard lights; and where there is one animal, expect others nearby.

Animals are most active at dusk and dawn, according to Parks.

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