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Russian snowmobile riders chase down pregnant elk then jump on the animal and STRANGLE it

Four Russians are under investigation after shocking footage of them 'pursuing and choking a pregnant elk' emerged online.

One video shows three men kicking the legs from under the animal as they try to wrestle it to the ground before piling on top of it.

The elk lets out a noise as it is knocked down by the men, one of whom is sitting on its head.

The group appear to be putting their full weight on the animal before one man offers to cut its throat with a knife.

'No need,' another responds in Russian. 'It will die soon'. 

Four Russians are under investigation after shocking footage of them 'pursuing and choking a pregnant elk' emerged online

The elk lets out a noise as it is knocked down by the men, one of whom is sitting on its head. The group appear to be putting their full weight on the animal before one man offers to cut its throat with a knife

The incident, which happened near the town of Vesyegonsk in western Russia on February 24, was filmed by one of the men's wives and uploaded to her Instagram account.

As the men appear to choke the life out of the elk, the woman can be heard in the footage saying she 'might start crying now'.

One of the men tells her to 'pull herself together' and keep watch to make sure no one else is around.

The woman later posted the video with the caption: 'What a weekend I had!'

An earlier clip showed the elk galloping through the snow while being pursued by a man on a snowmobile.

The four are alleged to have chopped up the elk's corpse and taken the meat home after killing it. Inspecting officers at the scene (pictured) reportedly found a lot of the animal's blood in the snow

The footage outraged internet users in Russia who reported it, prompting an investigation.

Local animal rights activists said that the elk 'was a female and was pregnant' when it was killed.

A woman identified only as 'Yana' posted the videos to her Instagram account. She is among four people being investigated for illegal hunting over the incident

A criminal case for illegal hunting has been launched against the four. The defendants have been identified by their first names Yana, her husband Andrey and friends Artem and Mikhail.

The four are alleged to have chopped up the elk's corpse and taken the meat home after killing it. 

Inspecting officers at the scene reportedly found a lot of the animal's blood in the snow.     

A source said that the riders had noticed a family of elk moving across a field and started to chase one of the animals.

Law enforcement said that: 'When [the elk] collapsed on the snow from fatigue, the three men piled on top and strangled it'. 

The suspects claim they 'wanted to help the elk after noticing it was limping.' 

They face up to five years in prison if found guilty of conducting an illegal hunt.

The investigation continues.  

Yana's husband Andrey (left) and their friend Artem (right) are also being investigated over the incident. The suspects claim that they wanted to help the elk after noticing it was limping

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