Late last week, a woman died in a Las Vegas hospital from injuries sustained during an elk attack that occurred near her Arizona home. The woman spent eight days in a medically-induced coma before passing away on November 8, Arizona wildlife officials said in a recent press release.
The attack happened October 26 in Arizona’s Hualapai Mountains, east of Kingman. The woman’s husband found her laying in their backyard next to a spilled bucket of corn, USA Today reports. He called 911, and she was rushed to the Kingman Regional Medical Center in Kingman, Arizona before being transported to the Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas.
Arizona Game & Fish (AZGF) was informed of the incident by the woman’s neighbor the day after it happened. Investigators visited her home and found elk tracks in the backyard. They hung warning notes on neighborhood doors and posted roadside signs reminding people not to feed wildlife.
“Feeding is one of the main sources of conflict between humans and wildlife,” stated AZGF in the news release. “Wildlife that are fed by people lose their natural fear of humans and become dependent on unnatural food sources.”
There are about 35,000 elk in Arizona. All of them have lineage linked to Yellowstone National Park. Eighty-three transplants were moved from the nation’s first national park to the Grand Canyon State in 1913.
The large cervids are known to be defensive, especially during the fall mating season when bulls weighing up to 900 pounds can get aggressive. While there have been five reported elk attacks in Arizona during the past five years, this is the first known elk attack fatality ever recored in the state, according to AZGF.