Head-butting elk in viral video euthanized

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The young elk featured in a viral online video playfully head-butting a photographer has been euthanized after authorities at the Great Smokies National Park determined he was a safety threat.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Friday that the elk was euthanized in the wake of the Oct. 20 YouTube video, which has been viewed nearly two million times and featured on national news shows.

The video shows the elk head-butting James York, who was sitting along a trail taking photographs. York was not injured.

Smokies spokeswoman Dana Soehn said the difficult decision to put the elk to death was made after efforts to keep it away from people failed.

She said visitors have been feeding some of the elks, causing the wild animals to lose their fear of humans.

Vince Camiolo, who posted the YouTube video, later posted a statement about the incident.

“It brings me great sadness to learn of this beautiful animal’s demise and the unfortunate circumstances surrounding it,” it read in part. “I’m looking into a destination for proceeds from this video to help the NPS educate visitors on the dangers and consequences of feeding wildlife.”