Cow elk attacks 4-year-old boy at Colorado playground — just days after 8-year-old girl was attacked

Two children in Estes Park, Colorado have been attacked by cow elks in one week. On Monday, a female elk charged and stomped on a four-year-old boy who was playing at Stanley Park. He was treated at a hospital and sent home later in the day.

Four days earlier, a mother elk attacked and stomped on an 8-year-old girl who was riding a bike in her residential neighborhood. She, too, was sent to the hospital and later released.

In both cases, the attacks occurred between 1:00–2:00 in the afternoon. And in both cases, the elks were protecting their young. On Monday, the aggressive elk, who was obviously feeling threatened, had two calves that were hiding near the playground where the boy was playing.

From Colorado Parks & Wildlife:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is urging Estes Park residents and visitors to be aware of aggressive cow elk after a 4-year-old boy was attacked Monday. This is the second cow elk attack in less than a week in Estes Park. 

Witnesses reported to CPW the boy was at a playground near Stanley Park around 1:30 p.m. Two elk calves were hidden nearby in a rock area, unbeknownst to families using the playground. As the boy was playing, a cow elk suddenly charged and stomped on him multiple times. A family member told CPW they scared the cow elk off the boy and took him to a hospital, where he was treated and released Monday evening. 

When a CPW officer responded to the scene, they found multiple cow elk in the area. The officer hazed the elk using non-lethal bean bag rounds to encourage the elk to leave the park. The elk have moved to another location. The playground is closed indefinitely. Parts of the Lake Estes Loop trail are also closed. CPW has placed signs warning of aggressive cow elk in the area. 

While newborn calves are immobile, cow elk can become aggressive towards perceived threats. People are encouraged to be aware while recreating outdoors that calves could be hidden nearby. Cow elk can charge from many yards away. Please respect trail closures and signs warning of aggressive elk. Never disturb young wildlife, even if they appear to be alone, as the mother is most likely nearby searching for food.