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ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – A family on a weekend outing could not believe what they saw. Two dead elks; a result of a project designed to study and protect the endangered jumping mouse in the Lincoln National Forest. The study may be causing more harm than good.

The family asked KRQE News 13 to hide their identity. “You could tell they both had struggled for quite a while,” said the family.

A family on a camping trip over the weekend came upon an upsetting and disturbing scene in Wills Canyon in the Lincoln National Forest. “So we were driving, my wife and myself and our two kids, we have a boy and a girl; Driving up a canyon coming across elk that have been tangled up in this electric fencing,” said the tipster.

They say they came across the two bull elks that where tangled in a fence that killed them. At first, they did not know if the elk were caught by poachers or got stuck in a farming fence. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish says it was something else.

“There were two bulls who got tangled in an electric fence at the head of Bulls Canyon in the southern part of the Lincoln National Forest,” said Tristanna Bickford Communications Director for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

The electric fence was placed earlier this year by the United States Department of Agriculture in an effort to monitor the endangered jumping mouse. The project is to study its habitat and see if what can be done to preserve the animal. In the press release from July, the USDA hopes they could build permanent fences to improve the living conditions of the jumping mouse, but for the family, they think this was a tragedy that two elks where killed in such a way.

“For them to be killed like that and be wasted, is I don’t know, It’s frustrating from a recreation standpoint and inhumane from a conservation standpoint,” the tipster said.

KRQE News 13 reached out to the Lincoln National Forest and the USDA for comment. They declined to comment because of a current lawsuit about the jumping mouse. The environment group believes the government is not doing enough to save the mouse.

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