For the second time in nine months, a Boulder area woodland creature that met an untimely end has generated a major Internet buzz and become a social media celebrity.

"Find me justice. I was just an elk who enjoyed the Mapleton Hill neighborhood," came the initial post Thursday on a Twitter account established on behalf of a bull elk whose violent end has gained the animal national attention.

Tracing the path of Boulder's famous Falling Bear, the Mapleton Elk -- as the large bull elk shot by a Boulder police officer on Mapleton Hill late Tuesday night has come to be known -- quickly attained Internet celebrity. He's the subject of his own Facebook page, in addition to the Twitter account.

The elk, which some area residents say frequented the historic Mapleton Hill neighborhood on Boulder's western edge for years, was fatally shot by an on duty officer, who did not report the incident to anyone. That officer and a second off-duty Boulder police officer who department officials say came to the scene to take the carcass home for meat, are both on paid administrative leave pending an investigation of the incident.

The story of the Mapleton elk's demise, originally reported as a mystery after Boulder police officials denied involvement, made an instant splash on the Camera's Facebook account, as the first article posted about it was shared 27 times. A follow-up story posted Thursday featuring a photograph of one of the officers posing with the elk's body, provided by a neighbor, had been shared 146 times by Saturday afternoon and drawn 245 comments, many voicing outrage over the officer's actions.

"simply reprehensible!!!" Facebook user Choen Michelle Vogt commented on the story Thursday night.

The story has received national media attention with a story appearing on the ABC News website, and a video covering the story appearing on the USA Today website.

The Falling Bear rose to international fame in late April after a timely photograph snapped by University of Colorado student Andy Duann that captured the creature in mid-air as it fell from a tree after being tranquilized by wildlife officials went viral online.

Unlike the Mapleton Elk, the Falling Bear survived to enjoy its fame, which generated the #fallingbear hashtag and several Falling Bear parody accounts on Twitter, before it was killed by a car on U.S. 36 about a week after the picture hit the Internet.

As of Saturday afternoon, a Facebook page titled "Justice for the Mapleton Elk" had 315 likes and an associated Mapleton Elk Twitter account showed 145 followers. #MapletonElk and #JusticeforBigBoy, referring to a nickname for the elk given by some of the Mapleton Hill residents familiar with it, were also circulating on the social media site.

"I have one request-do not make me into sausage!" was one of the tweets sent from the semi-serious Twitter account, which has also retweeted news articles covering the story.

The Facebook page appears more focused on the business of justice.

"If you saw me on New Year's Day (Tuesday) & can speak to my condition DM me and I'll get you in touch with the lead investigator from Colorado Parks & Wildlife. Thanks. I appreciate it," read a status update posted to the page Thursday.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328 or rubinoj@dailycamera.com.