Yellowstone murder mystery: many suspects

Nov 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: Researchers discover low-grade nonwoven cotton picks up 50 times own weight of oil

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Are wolves saving Yellowstone's aspen trees from elk?

Sep 01, 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 ...

Recommended for you

Shrinking dinosaurs evolved into flying birds (w/ Video)

7 hours ago

A new study involving scientists from the University of Southampton has revealed how massive, meat-eating, ground-dwelling dinosaurs evolved into agile flying birds: they just kept shrinking and shrinking, ...

Congressional rift over environment influences public

11 hours ago

American citizens are increasingly divided over the issue of environmental protection and seem to be taking their cue primarily from Congress, finds new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.

Rural loss and ruin can be avoided

14 hours ago

An Australian Reconstruction Development Board needs to be established to help avoid more needless forcing of Australian farmers from their land, a QUT economist has said.

User comments : 0