In Memory of the Seventy-Seven Elk Killed in Surf Pines

In Memory of the Seventy-Seven Elk Killed in Surf Pines

By By Deb Atiyeh,

People who come to the Oregon coast stop to marvel when they see a herd of elk roaming free

Time stands still as they watch with a sense of awe

The locals also pause to watch these majestic creatures wandering the streets or resting in the beach grass

Elk are one of the wonders on the coast that create beautiful art, photography, and the inspiration of poetry

Nature and wildlife are part of what makes the coastal areas so special

So what has gone wrong when someone decides to take seventy-seven of these magnificent creatures of nature from us

What could be in one’s soul to have a desire to kill anything so beautiful that has for so long wandered this earth

Grazing in a field, a herd, a family, all gunned down in their natural beauty

How many did not die immediately and suffered. How many tried to run. How many called out to each other as they fell

Some of them pregnant, yes seventy-seven were killed, along with the dozens of unborn calves alive inside the pregnant cows, so many were massacred

They were hunted while no one was watching, all in secrecy, all with a plan to kill, with no regard to how others feel

The large herd is gone, and now only a few remain, according to those who watch them daily and love their existence

They inflicted a harm on their own neighbors who loved the elk

Not realizing the sensitivity of others or having empathy for the grief that would follow

Those who shot the elk, who were standing and laying in the field, had no regard for the immensity of what they were doing

It was so inhumane to kill so many

The owners of the property who allowed and watched seemed to be heartless at the taking of so many lives, each a soul

The ODFW biologist who gave them permission to do it, again playing god with our precious wildlife, without asking the community or the Elk Collaborative formed for the purpose of finding solutions

How much damage justified the lives of so many. The voice of the community did not matter

The blood of those elk runs deep on that property, now staining the ground

The elk and their offspring have wandered that land for years, and their souls will remain

The elk had become an inconvenience for these people, so let’s just kill them

What is the legacy for the people who did this. It is a question of morality

What about the people who cared and loved them, who they were stolen from

The elk belong to the people of Oregon and it should not be up to just a few to decide to kill so many

Did they take it upon themselves to be the god of their existence, deciding which of our precious wildlife lives or dies

What form of humanity would aspire to such action. An action that has the stench of evil

One without compassion and empathy for the earth, the wildlife and the people who have reverence for what is sacred

In this life journey, respecting the earth, people and wildlife is what matters.

Causing such harm is an insult physically, mentally and spiritually, and leaves a mark on the soul

Now we are left grieving for the loss of something so beautiful

It was a betrayal of trust and it has blackened the reputation of ODFW

We are left trying to make sense of it all

Those elk are gone, killed, slaughtered, massacred, executed, dismembered

Many are feeling deeply disturbed by this horrific act of violence toward the local wildlife

We are left wondering why, and saddened by the actions of those so lacking in sensitivity for others and for wildlife

It is cruelty from the soul, and people are left to wonder “who would do this”?

We will hear the elk roaming in the silence and see them in those left behind

Sniffing the ocean air, grazing in our fields, roaming in the beach grass

Walking in the wind of our souls

Elk were the symbol of Gearhart, now destroyed by their own neighbors and the division between them

To choose to destroy what others love is a crime against the human spirit that gives life, love and humble reverence for the sacredness of our existence.

We want to believe that people are better than this, that they care. We hang on to hope for the people who do care

Did those property owners care about their neighbors and all of the elk that were killed, does ODFW care about all of the public outpouring, or will they just make excuses, defending their actions while betraying the trust of the people of Oregon

Did anyone think it would make so many others feel sad, angry, outraged about this loss? Do they even care?

It has penetrated our souls with sadness…

Will anything change because of this or will the killing fields continue with their rifles, bow and arrows

As so many said, “this was not the sport of hunting, it was a slaughter”

Who will be accountable to the people of Oregon for taking a piece of something we value on the Oregon coast

Will there be no consequences for something that is never forgotten; a memory that stains and settles into the soul of a community…

In memory of the elk who died, who had no voice in their existence…

Source: In Memory of the Seventy-Seven Elk Killed in Surf Pines

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