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Elk On Spring Mirgration

Elk Collar

They’re on the move again.  Elk, which live through the warmer months throughout Grand Teton National Park, are making their ways back from the National Elk Refuge into the park – crossing the highway in the process.  What’s more, Park Spokesperson Jackie Skaggs says they aren’t moving only a few at a time. Skaggs says large groups of elk have been seen on both sides of US Highway 89 near Gros Ventre Junction fanned out through the sagebrush.  She says motorists in that area need to be reminded that this is the time of year that animals are on the move, migrating back to their summer ranges. She urges people to slow down, even below the posted speeds, and be extra watchful for the animals. Skaggs says the park’s lighted message signs have been placed in strategic locations along the highway, both on the southern and northern end of the park in efforts to persuade drivers to slow down and watch for the migrating elk, moose and bison.  Skaggs says while the movement of the animals seems earlier than usual, the conditions for that movement are right. She says the valley is losing snow in the sagebrush areas – especially in the southern part of the park and southward.  Skaggs says, “The animals are looking for new sprouts; new vegetation that might be greening up, and leaves that might be coming on some of the bushes.”  She says the spring-like weather are providing the animals with the impetus to move. In addition to the caution for drivers, Skaggs reminds those viewing wildlife that they need to maintain a distance of 25 yards from ungulates and 100 yards from bears and wolves.

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