Woman Dies Weeks After Reportedly Trying to Feed Habituated Elk That Attacked Her
A tragic elk attack in rural Arizona has resulted in the death of a Pine Lake woman last month. She was apparently trying to feed the wild animal when it trampled and gored her, marking the state’s first known fatality from an elk attack.
The incident happened October 26th on the victim’s property in the Hualapai Mountains. Her husband returned home that evening and found her badly injured in the yard near a spilled bucket of corn.
Woman Sustained Severe Injuries, Placed in Medically Induced Coma
According to her husband, the injuries were consistent with being trampled by an elk. There were no witnesses to the actual attack.
Emergency responders rushed the woman to the Kingman Regional Medical Center. She was later airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital due to the gravity of her wounds.
Doctors placed her in a medically induced coma. But tragically, she succumbed to her injuries over a week later on November 3rd according to the Clark County Coroner.
Wildlife Officials Warned Neighbors Not to Feed Habituated Elk
Arizona Game and Fish Department officials learned of the attack a day later. They visited the community and advised residents not to approach or feed elk.
Returns visits revealed elk tracks in the victim’s yard. This supported theories that a habituated elk conditioned to being fed by humans was responsible for the deadly trampling.
After the woman’s passing, wildlife officers expanded warnings in the Pine Lake community against interacting with elk. But the warnings sadly came too late.
Habituation to Humans Credited for Multiple AZ Elk Attacks
According to wildlife experts, habituated elk that lose their natural fear of people pose the greatest risk of aggression. This often results from irresponsible human feeding.
Records show at least five elk attacks in Arizona over the past five years, including a 2015 incident where food-seeking elk harmed two children. Officials said a 2021 attack also involved a human-habituated elk.
The correlation between elk conditioning and attacks demonstrates the severe consequences of attempting to feed wild animals.
Fatal AZ Elk Mauling Highlights Why Feeding Wildlife Is Dangerous
While considered the first known elk-caused fatality in the state, the death highlights well-established dangers of feeding wildlife according to experts.
When animals become conditioned to unnatural, easy food sources, they start to associate humans with an easy meal. This erodes cautionary instincts that normally keep wildlife wary of people.
The woman tragically became the latest example of how attempting to feed elk and other wildlife often backfires with severe or even deadly consequences.
Key Takeaways from Arizona’s First Reported Fatal Elk Attack
Several key points emerged from coverage of Arizona’s precedent-setting deadly elk mauling:
- Woman suffered critical injuries consistent with elk trampling per husband.
- Habituated elk likely responsible based on spilled corn bucket near scene.
- Officials emphasized dangers of feeding after elk-related injuries and death.
- Attack highlighted how human-fed elk lose fear and become aggressive.
- Woman was first known Arizona fatality from an elk attack.
The need for vigilance around elk and other wildlife remains even as the likelihood of a fatal attack is extremely low. But experts agree human actions like feeding contribute to eroding animal caution that precipitates these isolated tragedies.