Elk numbers near the small Canadian town of Banff, Alberta, are down slightly from a year ago. Biologists counted 212 elk in the fall of 2020 compared to 229 in 2019. The larger concern is the decrease in the cow-calf numbers from 35 percent in 2019 to 27 percent in 2020.
“Generally when you start seeing lower cow-calf ratios, it’s also kind of indicative of some kind of increase in predation,” Blair Fyten, Banff National Park human-wildlife coexistence specialist, told Town and Country Today. “That predation could come from wolves, coyotes, cougars, and/or black and grizzly bears, but we see a lot of activity by the Bow Valley wolves close to the town site.”
Other causes of the reduction in elk numbers include natural causes, weather conditions, conflict with humans and highway or railroad mortalities.
Banff lies within Banff National Park and is about a 90-minute drive west from Calgary.
(Photo source: Banff National Park)