Romantic elk banished from B.C. ranch after falling in love with cow

Two species, both alike in dignity, in fair Columbia where we lay our scene. From ancient ambivalence break to new amity, where hot mammal blood makes farmer's hands unclean.

So begins the prologue to this century's tale of star-crossed lovers, a modern day Romeo and Moo-liet that tells the tale of an amorous elk, the bovine he loves, and the B.C. farmer who must keep them apart to preserve social order.

As the Toronto Star details, a giant bull elk, a loner by nature, has been haunting Greg Messner's south Cariboo ranch for several years where he hangs around, gazing longingly at his herd of cows and quite possibly barking in iambic pentameter.

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This year, however, the six-foot-tall, four-feet-wide creature decided to make his move when he spotted a beautiful, innocent cow-pulet in heat.

Despite the interspecies distance that separated them, the two fell hopelessly in love.

"If you were there watching, it would be an X-rated movie. Several times a day," the 100 Mile House owner told the paper with a chuckle. "He was pretty aggressive. He'd put his head down with his great big antlers and poke the little calves and push them away and send them for a little ride once in a while and flick them around."

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Sensing a danger to all, the farmer began to consult with experts.

His first call was to the University of Northern British Columbia, where a scientist warned him that elk have eight more chromosomes than cows, making a hybrid calf the biological equivalent of a really bad idea.

The situation was further aggravated by a constant stream of voyeurs stopping their cars to gawk at the unusual sight. And when hunters started creeping around the premises hoping to get a clear shot of the rare elk, Messner reached the end of his rope.

A quartet comprised of the rancher, two RCMP and a conservation officer sedated the enormous romantic and, to be sure he would prove less threatening to the herd they lopped off his antlers.

His lady's love will be tested upon his inevitable return next year.

So while no daggers or sleeping potions were necessary, the which of you with patient ears should consider yourself lucky you still have yours intact.

(CP photo)

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