Outdoors

Yellowstone elk herd decline continues

Elk herds in Yellowstone National Park area declined 80 pecent from 1992 through 2012. (Associated Press)
Elk herds in Yellowstone National Park area declined 80 pecent from 1992 through 2012. (Associated Press)

WILDLIFE — A major elk herd that migrates between Yellowstone National Park and Montana is still in a decline that’s reduced the population by 80 percent in 20 years.

Scientists from the park and the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks said the Northern Yellowstone elk herd is down 6 percent this winter, to 3,915 animals.

The herd peaked at about 20,000 animals in 1992. That was just a few years before gray wolves were reintroduced to the Yellowstone area from Canada after being absent from the region for decades.

Also taking a toll on the herd have been hunters, other predators including mountain lions and bears, and harsh winters.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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