ALBERTA
12/19/2013 07:40 EST | Updated 02/18/2014 05:59 EST

Elk Rescued After Christmas Lights, Candy Canes Get Stuck In Antlers

Dan Rafla/Parks Canada

Banff residents got quite the holiday display this week after an elk got tangled up in some Christmas lights and decorations. 

A resident spotted the bull elk wandering around with the lights and some candy cane ornaments strung up in his antlers near the Albertan mountain town Wednesday. 

Parks Canada, who responded to the call, tranquilized the elk to get him untangled from the lights. About four and a half metres of lights were trailing behind him. 

"We thought that it could get wrapped up in its legs and cause some injury and or get wrapped up in a bush and somewhat hold that elk hostage to the bush," said resource management officer Blair Fyten. 

Out of concern an incident could happen again, more drastic action was taken. 

Antlers taken off 

"This elk is one that frequents the edge of the townsite and we just thought there could be another possibility that he could find himself wrapped up in some more Christmas lights, so instead of putting him through the drugging situation again we decided to cut his antlers off." 

The elk is doing fine without his antlers, said Fyten. The animal's antlers grow back every year. 

"Every couple of years we'll get an animal that's got Christmas lights on him and sometimes they're able to shed the lights themselves, and sometimes they're wrapped up so tight that we have to intervene."

This year, at least two animals have been trapped in Christmas lights, he said. 

Parks Canada is warning residents who live in areas frequented by deer or elk to string lights onto their houses rather than trees or shrubs, where some wildlife feed.

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