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Youbou loses beloved Roosevelt elk, Bob

The stately and sometimes mischievous elk died after being hit by a car on Sunday

Youbou’s favourite Roosevelt elk — the stately and sometimes mischievous Bob — has died after being hit by a car near the home of his best human friend.

“It’s a community sense of loss and will be for some time,” Wendy Stokes said Monday of the elk, who died early Sunday. “He will truly be missed.

“He has been a major part of this community for a lot of years.”

A memorial event is being planned and someone is putting a marker in front of Stokes’ home. She has received ­flowers and cards.

Stokes said she has known the elk for many years and watched out for him, contacting the ­Conservation Officer Service when he needed help, whether it was for an infected foot or being tangled in laundry lines or wire.

Bob was once the leader of the local herd but that job has now passed to Henry, a bull that Stokes thinks is likely Bob’s ­offspring.

Elk in Youbou are so common, they’ve been given names by the locals. Another is known as Mr. Handsome.

Stokes didn’t see the accident on Sunday morning but saw emergency lights and thought of Bob. She later spoke to an RCMP officer who said the elk was hit by a man heading to work. “You can’t blame anybody. You are just glad that the ­driver’s OK.”

Bob was dear to the hearts of many Youbou residents and to visitors who took countless photos of him, many in front of Stokes’ home, where he hung out.

He became more domesticated over the years in a way that other elk did not, she said.

He would recognize the sound of Stokes’ car and come over when she arrived home. She would toss an apple to distract him and dash inside.

Bob would move around the outside of the house, looking in windows of different rooms.

“I still look out the window to see if he’s staring back at me,” she said.

In recent years, he was clearly aging, losing weight and slowing down, said Stokes, who estimates the elk was 14 to 16 years old. She had figured this would be his final winter.

When she first moved to Youbou 50 years ago, elk did not come into the community the way they do now, said Stokes, who thinks human activity altered their habitat, pushing them into the area about 12 to 13 years ago.

Bob had been tranquillized more than once when his antlers would get caught in laundry lines or wire.

The provincial vet came when he was limping and another time to check him out when he became so thin his ribs were showing, said Stokes.

She recalls happier times with the elk, however — sipping ­coffee on her deck as Bob rested nearby in the grass and bugled.

“That’s possibly one of the best memories I’m going to take from him.”

Lake Cowichan Coun. Aaron Frisby said Bob was “pretty famous.”

Having elk in the area is something the community really appreciates, he said.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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