Yellowstone murder mystery: many suspects

November 22, 2005

There's a murder mystery of sorts ongoing in Yellowstone National Park, and the main suspects include wolves, hunters and Mother Nature.

The victims are the park's elk herd, which is declining at an alarming rate for an undetermined reason.

The park's elk population dropped from nearly 17,000 in 1995 to about 8,000, USA Today reported, noting 1995 was the year wolves were reintroduced into the 2.5-million-acre federal park that covers parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

Although the reintroduction of wolves to the park was expected to negatively impact the elk population, the decline is much greater than expected, biologist John Vucetich of the Michigan Technical University told USA Today.

Vucetich and park officials considered weather, hunting and wolves as factors in the elk decimation and decided weather and hunting was mostly to blame.

The park area has experienced seven years of drought and a severe winter in 1997, both of which claimed many elk.

But other experts disagree, believing grizzly and black bears are the culprits.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Yellowstone loses radio frequencies used to track wildlife

Related Stories

Are wolves saving Yellowstone's aspen trees from elk?

September 1, 2010

Previous research has claimed that the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park in 1995 is helping restore quaking aspen in risky areas where wolves prowl. But apparently elk hungry for winter food had a different ...

Recommended for you

Brazilian wasp venom kills cancer cells by opening them up

September 1, 2015

The social wasp Polybia paulista protects itself against predators by producing venom known to contain a powerful cancer-fighting ingredient. A Biophysical Journal study published September 1 reveals exactly how the venom's ...

Water heals a bioplastic

September 1, 2015

A drop of water self-heals a multiphase polymer derived from the genetic code of squid ring teeth, which may someday extend the life of medical implants, fiber-optic cables and other hard to repair in place objects, according ...

ATLAS and CMS experiments shed light on Higgs properties

September 1, 2015

Three years after the announcement of the discovery of a new particle, the so-called Higgs boson, the ATLAS and CMS Collaborations present for the first time combined measurements of many of its properties, at the third annual ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.