How does the Wyoming National Guard affect the movement and behavior of wild elk? A new three-year study at Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center in cooperation with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) aims to determine just that.
According to a report issued by the U.S. Army, crews netted 29 cow elk and fitted each of them with an ear tag, radio collar and took blood samples for brucellosis. Biologists will monitor the elk over a three-year period before the collars fall off.
“We will then retrieve them to download the data,” Amanda C. Thimmayya, the military department’s natural resources manager, told the U.S. Army publication. “We hope to be able to correlate the movement data with different types of training and see if different types of training impact, or do not impact, elk movement. We also hope to be able to identify important areas where elk may benefit from habitat improvement projects, as well as learn about their general movements and use of Camp Guernsey.”
WGFD will also analyze the accumulated information to “determine habitat selection, define seasonal ranges, migration patterns, identify calving areas and estimate adult survival.”
Since the elk are available to be hunted, the military department asks that if any animals wearing collars are harvested, that the collars be returned.
(Photo source: Wyoming National Guard)