Baby elk left at Forest Service office

Baby elk left at Forest Service office
A photo of the elk calf left outside a USDA Forest Service office in La Grande, Ore. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife returned the calf to the wild.

LA GRANDE, Ore. — Someone left a baby elk on the U.S. Forest Service's doorstep in La Grande in northeastern Oregon.

Officials told The (La Grande) Observer that the baby elk probably was not abandoned, because mother elk regularly leave their babies hiding in tall grass or brush while they lead off a threat, such as a coyote, then return.

"Removing a young animal from the wild greatly reduces its chances of long term survival in the wild," said Michelle Dennehy from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "Never pick up or move a young animal unless you know for certain it was orphaned because you saw its mother die."

Dennehy said ODFW returned the calf to an area near an elk herd in hopes that the calf will be fostered by another cow elk.