Colorado has the largest elk population in North America but numbers are suffering in the southwest part of the state.
According to the Durango Herald, wildlife officials whittled down ballooning elk numbers in the 1990s and they’ve yet to bounce back.
“In the last six to eight years, we’ve tried to go back into the population growth phase,” Scott Wait, Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist, told the Durango Herald. “But we are struggling getting the population of elk to grow again.”
Calf recruitment is a major concern. Approximately half of the calves born today are not making it six months so researchers are trying to determine why. Biologists are placing radio collars on calves just after birth and monitoring their activity.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has been tracking the situation for a few years and provided funding for the ongoing study.