State officials say escaped elk may have to be shot

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom by

DERBY — Vermont Fish and Wildlife officials are saying that if they are unable to recapture the 16 elk that have been on the run since escaping their pasture in Derby last weekend, they may have to be shot.

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The animals are posing a risk to people and a disease risk to other wildlife in the area, they say.

The primary threat to the public is that they could wander onto a highway and be hit by a vehicle. Although a much lower risk, the animals could also introduce chronic wasting disease into Vermont’s deer population.

State officials have been working with owner Doug Nelson to recapture the animals. They have already been spotted several miles from their enclosure near the Cow Palace in Derby.

Officials have not set a specific time limit to recapturing the elk before resorting to other measures, which includes the possibility of shooting them, but say that bringing them back alive is still their primary goal.

At this time there is no indication any of the elk have crossed into Canada, however, they have been spotted close to the border a few times.