Stop the Euthanization of People-Friendly Wildlife

Target: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Goal: Find alternatives to euthanasia for wild animals that become too comfortable around humans.

Recently, a young elk was euthanized after approaching and aggressively nudging a man to request food. This particular elk had been sedated and removed from the area frequently, but always returned because humans continued to offer sustenance. Because the elk had “lost its fear of humans,” it was deemed a liability and had to be put down. Officials at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where the incident occurred, claimed that euthanasia was the only option – but this may not be the last case of a wild animal turning tame due to human negligence. Urge Great Smoky Mountains National Park to find alternative methods of dealing with human-friendly wildlife, as people, not animals, are responsible for such tragic occurrences.

Complaints were made when word of the curious elk’s demise was made public. However, many wildlife experts agreed that such animals, who no longer fear humans, are extremely difficult to manage. It is a complicated process to relocate them to another public land or facility; those demonstrating aggressive or potentially harmful behavior cannot inhabit other public lands, and facilities that house captive animals require all in-coming residents to be free of Chronic Wasting Disease for the past five years, a qualification this elk did not meet.

Typically, elk are removed from residential areas by hazing. They are hit with bean bags, shot with paint guns, and chased away with firecrackers. Most animals respond effectively and become fearful of returning unless, like this elk, the hope of food outweighs the fear of a gun. While such aggressive methods may seem unnecessarily cruel, the alternative risk of near-domesticating a wild animal is worse, and humans are entirely at fault for it.

The problem must be addressed. This elk will not be the only animal to fall victim to the allure of free rations, and ultimately end up the victim of human negligence. Most people are aware that wild animals are not to be fed, but many do so regardless of the rules, and the animals suffer as a result. Great Smoky Mountains National Park must find alternative methods of managing such animals in the future. To kill them for seeking offered handouts is unfair.

Urge Great Smoky Mountains National Park to find such alternative methods soon, and ensure that this tragedy does not occur again.


Dear Great Smoky Mountains National Park,

An elk was recently euthanized because it received food from humans and consequently became comfortable with human interaction. As a result, the animal was deemed a liability and was put down for posing a threat to park visitors. While your park officials claim that, in this case, nothing could be done to save the elk, this may not be the last time a wild animal is lured by handouts and becomes at ease around the providers.

Such animals are not at fault for the negligence of the people who directly caused such behavior, and therefore I urge you to find alternative methods of managing such animals in the future.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: John Carrel via Flickr

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  1. Maybe a better idea than euthanizing these animals, would be to euthanize the idiots who feed and try to tame the animals.

  2. Amber Thompson says:

    The animals are innocent, the idiots who move into their ranges, are the problem.

  3. Richard Sherman and family says:

    Sad and sadder.

  4. Michael Guest says:

    Animals are innocent creatures. I insist that no more of them be put down. That’s unfair. Put an end to this now.

  5. Igor Khomyakov says:

    It is absurd to kill someone because he was friendly! Killing simply must be an option. These lazy administrators must think and work harder to solve issues. Killing is not a solution, it is murder!

    • Igor Khomyakov says:

      i wanted to say “Killing simply must __not__ be an option”

    • This article is full of ironies and i can make a beautiful point here.. its all in wording and who is doing the “wording”.. Please Follow along…
      When it comes to the Govt, doing the feeding of the wildlife. For Gun promotion and “hunting, trapping traditions” its called BAITING. you are perfectly fine to stomp out into the woods for months before a deer, elk, bear, wolf, beaver, lion, what ever other kind of innocent animal you want to murder. Lay out monsanto corn, and other type of feed and then it is used for promoting growth of trophy type of antlers and better hides and makes the animal get “used to humans” So, when the KILLING starts. All the trapper has to do is lay the trap and BOOM! DEAD ANIMAL. Simple 231 wolves murdered in 11 days in Wisconsin. [ just 1 point] laid out by BAITED TRAPS. these were set by bear hunters that had just murdered more then 4,000 bears. The bear killing had just ended less then a week before they got to start ripping the skins off of the wolves.. Coyotes and Fox, and beavers and squirrels and many other less fortunate creatures get to be slaughtered non-stop all day and night 24 hours every day in THIS STATE. Thanks to the republican ruled NRA backed run, Gun Laws.

      Ok, next wording. If it is Liberal Animal Rights people, and we are peeling an apple or peeling some corn for our supper and take the left over peels and put them out in our field for some deer that might want to eat them. Rather then filling up the land-fill or local waste management to “save the environment” Then, its BAD! We must not do that! DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE! we are bad people! shame on us! (because its not supporting big business) no purchased monsanto feed, No guns, this is free leftovers and we are promoting peaceful wildlife. Now you understand? [ They can do it at the local hunting supply stores and even farm stores, look for the products.. trophy feed] But we can’t

      NOW if we put on hunting clothes and buy a hunting stand and carry guns to feed the animals our left over apples, THE WE ARE OK. so, next time we feed the deer… wear all your hunting gear, grab your guns. make it a real event! Bring along the local camera crew! then we are not “liberals” we are doing THEM a favor.

  6. Don’t interfere with nature you assholes. They have every right to be alive on this earth. The terrible people who made the decision to put the elk down are the ones who should lose their life privileges, not an innocent animal of the land

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