Cow elk killed in Olympic National Park

Federal officials probe poaching in Hoh River Valley

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — Federal officials are investigating an elk poaching that occurred in Olympic National Park last month.

A park visitor reported seeing a dead cow elk along Upper Hoh Road on the morning of Feb. 15, Olympic National Park spokeswoman Penny Wagner said Thursday.

Federal park rangers and state Department of Fish and Wildlife determined that the female had been killed between Feb. 14 and the morning of Feb. 15.

“The carcass was within yards of the roadway and no attempt was made to harvest the meat,” Wagner said.

Wagner added that the carcass was found well within the park boundary. Hunting is prohibited in Olympic National Park.

“There have been occurrences of poaching elk in the park — not just in the park but on the west side of the [North Olympic] Peninsula,” Wagner said in a Friday interview.

“It’s unfortunate in any of those instances.

“It’s certainly not a common occurrence that I’m aware of,” Wagner added, “but it is something that happens in the park.”

Anyone with information on the Upper Hoh Road poaching is asked to report what they know to National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch.

Anonymous tips can be left by calling or texting the tip line at 888-653-0009. Tips also can be emailed to [email protected] The reference number for the Upper Hoh Road case is NP19015260.

Wagner said the poached cow elk was part of the iconic Roosevelt elk population.

“Olympic National Park protects the largest population of Roosevelt elk in its natural environment in the world,” Wagner said in a press release.

“Decades of protection from human harvest and habitat manipulation have sustained not only high densities of elk, but also preserved the natural composition, social structure and dynamics of this unique coastal form of elk found in the Pacific Northwest and nowhere else.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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