NORTH CAROLINA — The Blue Ridge Parkway is warning drivers to be on the lookout for large elk that are becoming a potential threat in the area. 

Reintroduced into Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2001 and 2002, elk have made a comeback in the mountains of western North Carolina where they can now be seen in the southernmost portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway and in some neighboring communities.

“Adult elk seen along the Parkway and in Great Smoky Mountains National Park can weight between 500 and 700 pounds and have been known to charge in order to defend themselves,” officials with the Blue Ridge Parkway explained. 

Anyone who spots elk on the Parkway is asked to please keep their distance in order to maintain their safety.