Staff at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park had to put down an elk after it repeatedly headbutted a photographer and jabbed him around the head with its antlers.
The photographer did the right thing and tried to act submissively, he sat down by the side of the road, but the elk would not quit. A video of the incident shows the elk repeatedly attacking him with his sharp antlers before he eventually manages to get away.
The Daily Mail reports that the elk then had to be put down by rangers at the park because it 'could not be re-trained to be fearful of humans'.
James York, the photographer in the video, said that he was 'saddened and speechless' after the death of the animal.
In a statement, York said: "I love and respect animals and that's why I photograph them and don't hunt them. I am deeply hurt by the loss of such a beautiful creature that in its own way bonded with me. I looked forward to watching him grow to a mature bull as the years passed.
"I'm truly heartbroken to know he is gone."
Mr York could not have acted better in the situation, and the rangers were quick to assure him that he had acted correctly, but unfortunately the elk had to be killed because it had been exhibiting dangerous and aggressive behaviour for a while.
This elk is the first one that has ever been put down by the park. It had come to associate humans with food after previous visitors to the park had fed it.
The video was captured by Vince Camiolo, who posted it to YouTube. It then went viral, but York has been found wishing that it hadn't. He has said that he can no longer watch it, because 'all the joy is gone' in knowing that the animal is now dead.
He also thinks that had the video not been seen so many times, the elk might still be alive.
At the time that the video came out, he spoke about his ordeal.
"My first thoughts were 'wow, he's getting pretty damn close here'. He said. "But I've been up close before without incident. I hoped being still and passive would see him pass on. "
"When he lowered his antlers to me, I wanted to keep my vitals protected and my head down. I felt that standing up would provoke him more and leave me more vulnerable to goring."
Bloody hell. That's not a nice choice to have to make.
He continued: "I think that while protecting myself with my head down, having my head down was a signal that I was rutting with him.
"I was concerned at first, but when he started rearing back and lunging at me later on, I got scared and pissed off.
"So I guess at some point if the Ranger hadn't of pulled up, I would have had to disengage the best I could. I've joked with my friends that at least he took me for a buck and not a cow!"Featured Image Credit: Newsflare