Recent visitors asked to share information and photographs of bull elk in the park to aid the investigation.
Federal officials are investigating the suspected poaching of two large bull elk in Rocky Mountain National Park.
The most recent case was Saturday when visitors reported a dead animal next to the popular Trail Ridge Road near the Ute Crossing Trail south of Forest Canyon Overlook. Rangers have since discovered that the elk had been poached on Sept. 21 during the nighttime hours or in the early morning on Sept. 22.
Less than two weeks ago, on Sept. 12, rangers discovered the first dead elk on the road near Milner Pass. The animal's head had been severed and removed and the remainder of the carcass left behind.
This group of elk is often found in the area and photographed by visitors every day. And with it being mating season, they are certainly more visible throughout the park. If you have recent photographs of bull elk taken near Milner Pass, park officials request that you contact them and aid them in their investigation. You can email them here, or post them to the park's Facebook page.
Anyone with information about either of these incidents is asked to call or text the National Park Service Investigative Services Bureau at 888-653-0009 or call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-332-4155.
“If you have information that could help investigators, or if you were in the locations listed above, please contact us. You do not have to tell us who you are, but please tell us what you know,” park officials said in a statement.
People who provide information that leads to an arrest might get a reward.
"Both of these elk were magnificent large bulls," the park related. "Tens of thousands of park visitors have viewed and photographed these bulls. The individual(s) involved with these egregious poaching incidents have robbed park visitors from this experience and killed two strong bull elk during the rutting season. Please help the park protect wildlife by reporting any suspicious activity."