Thursday, February 01, 2018

Northern Yellowstone elk herd at highest level in more than a decade

The elk herd that resides in the northern part of Yellowstone National Park and the southern end of Montana’s Paradise Valley is growing, according to a new count conducted by state and park biologists. During aerial surveys earlier this month, biologists from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Yellowstone National Park counted 7,579 elk in what’s known as the northern range, an area stretching from the Lamar Valley north to Six Mile Creek. The total is 42 percent higher than 2017’s count of 5,349. Karen Loveless, a biologist with FWP, said the significant jump likely means they missed counting some elk last year, but they still believe the population is healthy and growing. It’s the fourth consecutive year that the number has increased...more

What caused this turnaround?

Increasing numbers have coincided with the trend of more elk migrating north from the park and into Montana. More than three-quarters of the herd was spotted north of Yellowstone this year, a percentage that’s been fairly consistent in each count since 2013. Prior to 2006, less than half the herd regularly migrated north.

Notice they have to leave the Park to have a healthy and growing population.

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