Jumping Elk: Incredible encounter with wild elk in Ontario
Despite being large and in charge, elk are surprisingly agile creatures. Not only can they leap a maximum of eight feet, they can look cool while doing it. Check out this herd of elk make short work of a low fence.
Wild elk have been making a comeback in Ontario since being re-introduced in the early 2000 and more and more of them have been spotted east of Ottawa.
The elk are also called “Wapiti”, which is the Indian word for “white” referring the color of the animal’s rump. They are named just like cattle: cow, bull, calf.
Although “elk” is the British name for the moose, it was mistakenly given to the “Wapiti” by early settlers. Wapiti actually comes from the Shawnee Indian language and means “white” referring the color of the animal’s rump.
In the fall, breeding season the bulls fight, sometimes to the death, for a harem. The bull elk will stand on its rear legs and strike out with his sharp, cloven hooves. Not only are the bulls strong, they are very fast, running up to 55 kilometers per hour (35 mph), and, unlike deer, they can move through the forest almost silently. The calves are born with white spots for camouflage just like a deer fawn.
Elk habitat varies throughout the year. In the summer elk are found in higher elevation mountain pastures, and in the winter, elk prefer lower elevations on wooded slopes in densely populated forests.
It can be found near the edge of the forest, in swamps, and in open pastures or glades. During the day, it hides in the forest. Elk are primarily nocturnal, but are especially active at dusk and dawn. It is more active during the night and so is seldom seen by people.
Photos: Butch McLarty