Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ernie the Elk Roams Again?

Blog readers from the Treasure Valley probably know the story of "Ernie the Elk," a large bull elk that--for reasons known only to him--decided to live among a herd of cattle along the Boise Greenbelt.

Ernie became a popular attraction along the Greenbelt. For two years, he lived among the cattle.

Last fall, he returned to the foothills, where a hunter allegedly shot him. This set off a fury of letters and controversy in the Idaho Statesman.

Tonight, as I jogged along the Greenbelt, I thought I saw a ghost. A very large bull elk suddenly bolted into cover as I ran.

Has Ernie returned? Has another bull elk taken his place? Was this just a random elk passing through?

Of course, we'll never know for sure. Perhaps more important than the individual elk, though, is the fact that we live in a state where such wildlife sightings are still possible.

Running along the Greenbelt in Idaho's largest city, I've seen river otters and beavers and long-tailed weasels and mule deer. Herds of pronghorn and elk roam the foothills.

Farther afield, there are bighorns and grizzlies, even caribou.

You never know what you might see when you go out for a hike or jog.

It's one of the important reasons why we live here. But as more people call Idaho home, we have to find a way to conserve wildlife habitat, so that future generations can still marvel at bull elk on their jogs.

As for "Ernie"? I won't reveal exactly where I saw him, for reasons that should be obvious. But if you're along the Greenbelt this weekend, look carefully. There's a bull elk out there. --Matt Miller

1 comment:

Russell Willerton said...

Nice story. Would be great if it is Ernie.