ESTES PARK, Colo. -- It all started as an unfortunate mishap for a 2-week-old male elk calf. He fractured his leg and was alone.
In the animal kingdom, that means he would soon be part of the natural food chain. Except an Estes Park police officer found him just off of Highway 36 near the causeway.
Feeling sorry for the injured calf, the officer contacted Colorado Parks and Wildlife for advice. Officials told the officer to euthanize the suffering animal.
Instead, the calf was brought to veterinarian Dr. Marie Cenac, who didn't think twice about treating the wild animal.
"I didn't think twice because it's the right thing to do," she said.
With its broken leg in a splint, the calf is being force-fed a nutritious formula every few hours.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife said while it empathizes with the officer's reaction and decision, the elk should have been left in the wild and euthanized if suffering.
"Kids and animals, I have a place in my heart that just aches for them," Cenac said.
All parties agree, taking an animal from the wild and treating it falls in a gray area, which for one small and hurting elk, is in Estes Park.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife said it took possession of the baby elk and will take to its wildlife veterinarian in Fort Collins for further treatment.