An incident regarding animals from way back the end of December got me and a lot of other Utahns riled up, though it probably didn’t make the national news. We had quite a bit of snowfall around then, and wildlife was being increasingly pushed down to lower elevations in search of food. Often they are attracted to roadsides where snowplows expose grass.
About 15 elk had become trapped on a new section of highway in Provo Canyon not far from SLC in Utah where the southbound lanes are elevated about 50 feet above the northbound lanes. Several drivers slowed down to allow the elk to get to an area where they could get off the road, but one driver, whose time was much more valuable than everyone or anything else didn’t stop. You’ve probably run into a few drivers like that. Naturally the elk panicked and six of them jumped over the edge and fell 50 feet to their deaths. Although I haven’t heard the final disposition of the case, I read that the officers know who the driver was and the incident was still under investigation. Probably the worst he’ll be charged with is wildlife harrassment and a slap on the wrist. He deserves a lot more. Enough to make you sort of hate some people, huh?
But then I read this accounting of another animal incident in High Country Magazine that made me feel better. A Park Ranger in Utah’s Rockport State Park spotted a group of young mule deer stranded on the slick ice of a reservoir. He put on what’s called an ice rescue suit, then gingerly crawled out to the animals sprawled out on the ice. All were exhausted and could not move. One by one, he pulled four of the six yearling deer that he could reach, and left them on shore in hopes they’ll survive the rest of the winter. No word about the other two. At least some men still have heart. Hats off to Ranger Joe Donnell. As for that other fellow? Hang him up by his toenails for an hour.