Refuge elk population strong all winter long

Mar 20, 2014 The Associated Press

JACKSON -- A National Elk Refuge biologist says the number of elk deaths on the refuge appears to be unusually low as springtime draws near.

Refuge biologist Eric Cole says 30 elk have been found dead this winter for a mortality rate less than one-third the long-term average.

He says more elk are likely to die and more dead elk will likely be discovered. Still, Cole expects elk mortality this winter to be below average.

Cole says wolves have killed five elk so far this winter. Other elk have died from disease, although Cole says he hasn't seen any major disease outbreaks on the refuge this winter.

Biologists counted 8,300 elk on the refuge this winter, up 30 percent from last winter.

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