Famous Yellowstone elk likely killed by wolves

A Yellowstone National Park bull elk featured in a BBC film has died after likely being killed by a wolf pack. Park officials confirmed Tuesday that elk No. 10 was found dead near the Wraith Falls trailhead Saturday. He was believed to be between 16 and 18, a ripe old age for a male elk.

Gardiner, Mont.-based naturalist Jim Halfpenny told the Billings Gazette (http://bit.ly/13ScU7w ) that the elk “held court” in the Mammoth Hot Springs area starting in 2006, when he chased off another bull and took over a harem, or group of cows. No. 10 became famous after being included in the BBC film on the Mammoth elk, Street Fighters. Bulls are shown fighting with each other and chasing off tourists with their antlers. No. 10 got his yellow numbered tag after being tranquilized and having its antlers sawed off in 2001 after getting caught in a badminton net at a school in Mammouth. The tag warned hunters that the animal’s meat was unsafe because of the tranquilizer.

In recent years, Halfpenny said No. 10 maintained a smaller harem outside Mammouth.

“Being slightly old, wiser and lacking the body weight of his youth, it was now time to retreat to a more private place with a smaller harem,” Halfpenny said in an email.

Cow elk usually live into their teens but males generally live shorter lives because of the physical toll of the ongoing competition for mates.

The Associated Press