The green-up is underway in Wyoming so elk are leaving the National Elk Refuge by the thousands. Numbering around 9,000 during the height of the 2016-17 winter, the elk population dropped from 6,200 to 1,600 over a three-week time period in April.
Since the official count is less than 2,500, the refuge opened the popular pathway that runs parallel to Highways 26, 89 and 191.
Established in 1912, the National Elk Refuge provides vital winter habitat for elk. Biologists identified 46 other mammals on the grounds including bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, mule deer and coyotes as well as many different species of birds.
(Photo source: US Fish & Wildlife Service)