Several reasons are given for the huge increase of elk on the prairie, one of which is:
The cougar population has grown in the nearby forests and canyons, due in large part to a 1994 state ballot measure banning hunting the big cats with hounds. Cougars don't like open prairie as much as timber -- so the elk head to the Zumwalt, wildlife officials say.Another reason is given by a university official:
A third explanation is that elk no longer prefer the nearby river canyons as they once did because fewer domestic sheep and cattle graze there, said Oregon State University Extension agent John Williams of Enterprise. Elk like the lush new grasses that spring up after cattle and sheep pass through, but regulators reduced domestic livestock in the river canyons, so the elk have found new ground, he said.Ban hunting, ban grazing, and destroy a preserve. Way to go fellas.