The 8-year-old bull elk was photographed so often by visitors to an Oklahoma nature preserve he was dubbed "Hollywood." But the final photo of the creature is a grisly one: a shot of its headless carcass (graphic image here). The elk, which lived on the Nature Conservancy's JT Nickel Preserve near Tahlequah and was "commonly seen resting near the roadside greeting visitors," was illegally killed this weekend, according to a press release. Now the nonprofit is offering $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons who poached the well-known elk.
The release notes that the JT Nickel Preserve is the largest privately protected conservation area in the Ozarks; elk were released there in 2005, having last populated the Ozarks more than 150 years prior. While there is an elk-hunting season in Cherokee County, hunting the animals on the privately owned 17,000-acre preserve located in the county is always prohibited, KFOR 4 reports. A similar act of poaching happened in Nevada in August, KUTV 2 reports. In that case, poachers killed a "trophy class elk" on private property, taking only the antlers and a small amount of meat, "and just left the rest to rot," an official said. (Here's why Americans are poaching wild ginseng.)