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Contact: Eileen Andes, 701-623-4466
The National Park Service has removed 21 antlerless elk from the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the past two weeks.The park is in the maintenance phase of the Elk Management Plan, after two highly successful elk reduction efforts during 2010-2011.
Intensive ground surveys conducted during the month of October showed the minimum number of elk in the park to be 215, according to Superintendent Valerie Naylor.Although the number of elk in the park is likely higher, the park bases all management actions on the minimum number.There are also elk outside of the park which were not included in the park's population count.
"Although our major elk reduction efforts concluded last year, it is necessary to remove a small number of elk this year to ensure that future population growth remains within the population objective of 100-400 animals, as specified in the Elk Management Plan. We have excellent data on the numbers and movements of elk in the park, and are proceeding cautiously to ensure that we maintain a healthy population in the park."
When elk reduction efforts began in 2010, the elk population in the park was over 1,200 animals.Park staff and members of the public serving as volunteers removed 406 elk from the park in 2010 and 462 elk in 2011.That effort, combined with two successful hunting seasons outside park boundaries, brought the population below 300 animals.
Removal operations for 2012 will end on December 6.