Unique unicorn

notforsale

Astorian John Bruijn saw the young “funky elk unicorn” (pictured) in his yard recently, and shared it with the Ear. So what causes an elk’s antler to go rogue?

The Ear emailed the photo to Rick Hargrave, deputy administrator in the Information and Education Division of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and asked. Even though he was at a conference at the Portland Zoo, he called right back after talking to a biologist who was also attending the conference.

The biologist said that the strangely placed antler is a pretty uncommon occurrence among elk, but if the base of an antler gets damaged very early in life, it will move, then permanently stay in its new spot.

While the unicorn look is intriguing, it is already starting to impede the elk’s ability to eat, and it will likely starve to death. John reported that while the animal is still able to munch on grass for the time being, the antler is already digging into the dirt.

There’s not much that can be done about it, apparently, but the antler could break off or curve. The Ear wonders, though: Couldn’t the elk be tranquilized, and the antler sawed off? Just a thought.

— Elleda Wilson

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