Big Kahuna the Elk, a massive Rocky Mountain National Park icon, was found dead this past week. The elk, who was also known as Bruno and Incredibull, was the most photographed in the national park in the past 25 years, weighing in at around 1000 pounds. Bruno was found by photographers with ACS Nature Photography and Good Bull Outdoors.
According to both Good Bull Outdoors and Andrew Sanders with ACS Nature Photography, the elk was likely killed by a mountain lion, as several prints were found surrounding the carcass. However, according to CBS 4, the National Parks Service is yet to confirm the cause of death, pointing to the possibility of a mountain lion scavenging the carcass rather than actually killing the beast.
“He could have died from natural causes or been prayed on by a mountain lion” – Kyle Patterson, National Parks Service
Whatever the cause of death, the loss of this bull is a tragedy for nature photographers in the Rocky Mountain National Park. As Andrew Sanders points out, however, a new elk will rise to take the throne.
“Like the sun, he bathed us in his warm glow. Now that the sun has set and the cool of the evening has come, some of the warmth we absorbed is flowing back towards him.”
We’re sad to announce the passing of perhaps the most iconic elk in history. Bruno, aka Kahuna, aka Incredibull was last seen alive on 3/7 by ourselves and @acsnaturephotography – then a storm rolled in and we lost his location. Many miles hiked between ourselves and Andrew and we made the unfortunate discovery – Bruno had likely been taken down by a mountain lion with tracks surrounding the area he was found. Being the first to place a hand on his magnificent antler (one had already been shed) was humbling and all three of us – myself, Alli and Andrew – were each blessed to be the last to see him alive and the first to see him passed on.”
Image Credit: Good Bull Outdoor