If Agatha Christie doesn’t already have her hands full tackling the mystery of who killed the spectacular nine-foot-tall stag known as the Emperor of Exmoor in her homeland of England, Estes Park needs her help in solving the death of the town’s beloved bull elk. In both places, the killings of the majestic beasts have stirred outrage. And while Exmoor’s Emperor was likely shot legally by a hunter, Estes’ bull elk—said to have been the largest seen this side of Rocky Mountain National Park—was the apparent victim of a bow-and-arrow-wielding poacher. The elk, a star during bugling season, was shot near downtown Estes Park. He somehow stumbled to the Stanley Hotel and fell there, no longer able to walk or eat. Officials soon put the elk out of its misery and donated the meat to a charity.
The death has gone unsolved for about three weeks, and now, the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust is offering a $2,500 reward, hoping someone will out the reckless hunter. The Colorado Division of Wildlife is pitching in another $5,000 to the reward fund, for a total $7,500, notes The Denver Post. “The callous actions of the person or persons responsible caused this animal to suffer immensely,” says Holly Tarry, Colorado state director for the Humane Society of the United States.
As for the Exmoor stag, also slain in October, oddsmakers are now taking bets on whether the hunter was an Englishman or an American, writes the Somerset County Gazette. –