After staying in Gatlinburg, I was looking up some things online, and ran into this phenomenal video...
Source: While photographing elk at sunrise in the Cataloochee Valley of Great Smoky Mountains National Park I turned around to see what appeared to be just a curious young bull sniffing a photographer's camera. I snapped a few frames of the apparent harmless encounter.
UPDATE November 17,2013........... The young elk featured in a viral video playfully head-butting an Asheville photographer has been put to death.Smokies spokeswoman Dana Soehn said the decision to put the elk to death was a first for the park. Park officials said the elk was a problem before approaching the photographer.
Soehn said the elk had lost its fear of humans after being fed by visitors. She said the animal had demonstrated dangerous behavior that could result in human injury or death.
National Park Service spokesperson Molly Schroer told WBIR the elk had become too accustomed to humans, and instead of fearing people, associated them with food. Officials added the photographer featured in the video shouldn't be blamed for the animal's fate, as the elk's overly inquisitive nature predated this particular encounter.
In the video, photographer James York is approached by the young bull elk on the side of the road. The animal attempts to tangle horns with York, hitting him in the head repeatedly. After nearly seven minutes, York cautiously distances himself from the animal and seeks shelter in a nearby car.
Park officials attempted to re-train the animal to fear humans before ultimately deciding to euthanize it. Their methods included using firecrackers, bean bag guns and even tranquilizing the elk and moving it to another location. “Unfortunately for that elk," spokeswoman Dana Soehn told the Asheville, N.C., Citizen Times, "He was just not responding to that aversion.”
Vince Camiolo, the photographer who captured the encounter on video, issued a statement on YouTube following the news. "I am deeply saddened by the fate of the elk," he wrote. "It has certainly pulled a black cloud over this whirlwind 'viral video' experience."
Camiolo again emphasized that York was not in any way responsible for the elk's behavior. "The elk approached [York] from behind, likely looking for food as he was conditioned to do."