News Release

Skull and Antler Illegally Removed from Popular Elk Known as Kahuna

Kahuna photo was taken fall 2021 and is owned by Dawn Wilson Photography. The NPS has been granted its limited use in print and digital media solely for this article. All image credits and rights belong to Dawn Wilson Photography
Bull elk in Rocky Mountain National Park known as Kahuna, in the fall of 2021.

All image credits and rights belong to Dawn Wilson Photography.

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News Release Date: April 8, 2022

Contact: Kyle Patterson, Public Affairs Officer

Contact: Park Information Office, (970) 586-1206

Recently, park visitors and area photographers highlighted on social media the passing of a popular large bull elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, referred to as Kahuna, Bruno or Big Thirds. He was a majestic elk with distinct large antlers and was widely photographed during his lifetime. Numerous images were also shared of Kahuna’s carcass. It is believed that Kahuna died of natural causes, as there were reports he was injured during last year’s mating season and was very underweight in February.    

Park rangers at Rocky Mountain National Park are investigating the illegal removal of Kahuna’s skull and antler from his carcass, likely sometime between March 20 and March 22. One antler was still on the skull and it is believed his other antler had been shed before his death.    

Park rangers urge anyone with information on this illegal incident to call Rocky Mountain National Park’s tip line at 970-586-1393 or email e-mail us. If you wish to remain anonymous please visit NPS Anonymous Tip Information. This link will provide other ways to report what you know. If you have information that could help investigators, please contact us. You do not have to tell us who you are, but please tell us what you know.        

Rocky Mountain National Park’s wildlife is a resource for all to enjoy and protect. The skull and antlers of this popular elk were cut and illegally removed from Rocky Mountain National Park.  This elk’s remains should be allowed to return to the earth in Rocky Mountain National Park, where he brought much joy to thousands of park visitors over many years.  Please help the park protect wildlife by reporting any suspicious activity.

Last updated: April 8, 2022

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1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517


970 586-1206
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