Do you ever feel like you don’t quite fit in? Disheartened due to lack of absolute acceptance by a crowd you’d hoped to impress?
You’re certainly not alone. A lot of people can relate, though they may be reluctant to admit it aloud.
As it turns out, certain animals can apparently relate as well. Take, for example, a little black goat recently spotted near the Devil’s Backbone wilderness area close to Loveland, Colorado.
Does this goat hang out with a lively group of other diminutive goats? Nope.
This intrepid guy seems to run with a local herd of elk. Evidently, he’s passed some sort of super-secret elk initiation ritual.
Local residents have told the Loveland Reporter-Herald that they’re not quite sure where the black goat originally came from. Some are guessing he ran away from a nearby goat herd when they were weaned back in 2017.
Witnesses say that originally, there were actually two goats seen with the elk. But these days, the one remaining goat seems to be going solo.
“We are convinced he thinks he’s an elk,” laughed resident Lisa Bounds. “It’s hilarious.”
Bounds and her neighbors also told the Reporter-Herald that this motley menagerie is frequently on the move. They appear to favor areas along U.S. Route 34, Glade Road and the western edge of the Backbone.
“It’s like five or six elk and this black goat right up there with them,” community resident Josiah Engblom said. “They are inseparable.”
Fellow resident Shelley Coldiron was so amazed that she posted a snapshot on neighborhood social media site Nextdoor. “He’s become quite the legend around here,” said Coldiron, observing that the little goat’s adopted elk acquaintances are “definitely looking out for him.”
The Reporter-Herald notes that Suzie Halvorson works with Coldiron out of her residence, which is close to the Backbone. Halvorson shared a video that showed the whole gang hoofing it across a nearby road, with the goat “like second or third in line.”
Regional and national news sources like the Denver Post jumped on the story, which has since become something of a national sensation.
Engblom added that the goat’s larger elk allies even protected him from a pack of hungry coyotes in hot pursuit recently. As he recalled it, the coyotes backed down when the whole herd “did an about-face” and an “elk stood up on his hind legs, boxing up.”
Jason Clay, a spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said this commingling behavior is a bit unusual for elk. “You don’t typically see them intermix with other animals,” he explained, noting that certain diseases can occasionally spread between species.
But these particular elk seem perfectly pleased with their decision. Halvorson noted that their pint-sized goat pal normally stays right in step with the larger posse.
So for those of us humans who might feel marginalized or misunderstood on occasion, take heart. Somewhere, there’s a close-knit crew that thinks you fit in perfectly.
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