Studies to Monitor Colorado Elk

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Two different studies, one in central Colorado and the other in northwest Colorado, will allow wildlife managers to learn more about the health and movements of elk herds.

Beginning in early March, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will conduct a long-term, two-part study in Routt and Eagle Counties to assess the current and future health of elk populations in these areas. For approximately the next six years, residents may see activity related to the effort, including helicopters, trail cameras and collared elk.

“This research will help CPW, local communities and land managers make informed decisions about conserving our wildlife resources,” said Kris Middledorf, area wildlife manager. “We are experiencing some unsettling changes in elk populations in other locales around the state including declining cow/calf ratios. My goal is to get ahead of the problem in this area. This research will help us answer many questions so that we can make effective management decisions.”

And in Pitkin County, also in early March, CPW researchers will begin a six-year study of the Avalanche Creek elk herd in the Roaring Fork Valley.

“This study could produce data that is crucial to a better understanding the needs of elk and their use of county open space,” said Gary Tennenbaum, director of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails. “Knowing where these animals move and when will be extremely helpful in better managing properties and establishing seasonal closures.”

(Photo source: Tom Diesing)