Ranch would have given euthanized elk a new home

BYBEE, Tenn. (WVLT)- The elk that was euthanized after becoming a YouTube sensation has created strong reaction from people across the world.

Officials with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park say the elk was used to getting food from people and created problems before he became famous approaching the photographer.

Local 8 News talked to a Ron Nease, owner of the Briarwood Ranch Safari, who wishes he could have given the elk a new home.

There's a little bit of everything at Briarwood Ranch, they have emu, water buffaloes, nilgai and much more.

Animals here roam through 124 acres of land, and like the elk that was euthanized, they too like to be fed by people.

"I know the rangers were doing their job because they have to protect the people, but there are some other alternatives they probably didn't know about - like our place," says Nease.

The ranch has about 30 elk already.

"It could've been placed there and people could've been able to feed it and touch it and been able to enjoy it. It could've lived its life out had they known."

Officials with the park tell Local 8 News they considered moving the elk but that would just be moving the problem, a problem they say could have been very dangerous.

They say when an animal associates a human with food they can become aggressive.

Nease wants all parks to know Briarwood Ranch is willing to help next time if it means saving a life.

"We can dart it and release it to our place ... we love the animals too," he says.

And they've got more than enough room.

Park officials say the elk that was euthanized was used to people feeding it and it's very important that the public does not feed wildlife.

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