Elk Plan Calls For Reduction In Numbers

Elk on the Move

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently released a final Environmental Assessment and final Bison and Elk Management Step-down Plan for feeding to guide future management at the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming. These documents support the Service’s ongoing planning and management efforts to ensure the refuge maintains healthy native habitats and sustainable wildlife populations. In particular, the plan provides a structured framework that refuge staff and partners can implement over the next five years to achieve measurable progress towards reaching the objective of 5,000 wintering elk on the refuge. Refuge officials point out that the final Step-down Plan does not aim to reduce the total number of elk in the Jackson herd, but aims to gradually reduce the number of elk wintering on the refuge over time. Reducing both the number and concentration of wintering elk on refuge lands can help to reduce wildlife disease threats, and lessen or prevent habitat degradation. The Step-down Plan’s target of 5,000 wintering elk on refuge lands was developed with conservation partners. There are currently an estimated 11,000 elk in the Jackson herd and upwards of 6,000-7,000 elk winter on the refuge.

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