Pregnant elk poached in Zion National Park during government …

Elk graze across a mountain pasture. (Photo: Wikipedia


A poacher killed a pregnant elk inside Zion National Park over the weekend, apparently taking advantage of park security being limited because of the government shutdown.

The National Park Service and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are investigating the incident, which is estimated to have happened on or about Saturday, Jan. 20, a day after deadlock in the U.

S. Senate led to a shutdown.

National parks like Zion were kept open despite park service staff being on furlough, limiting the available security within the park.

A gut pile and partial hide of the elk were found in Lee Valley, off the Kolob Terrace road inside the park, according to park officials.

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Up to a $1,500 reward is being offered for information on the kill.

Safety was a primary concern after the U.

S. Department of the Interior announced last week it would keep parks open during the shutdown, with virtually no staff on hand for security or protection.

The shutdown lasted three days before Congress passed a temporary stopgap measure on Monday.

The park service is encouraging anyone with information that could help the investigation to call or text to the NPS Investigative Services Branch tip line at (888) 653-0009, or email to nps_isb@nps.

gov. Tips may also be submitted online at www. under “Submit a tip.

Follow David DeMille on Twitter, @SpectrumDeMille, and on Facebook at www.facebook.

com/SpectrumDeMille. Call him at 435-674-6261.