It looks like warmer than usual temperatures agree with the elk herd living on the National Elk Refuge in the northwest part of Wyoming.
“This is what you would expect in a very mild winter,” Eric Cole, National Elk Refuge biologist, told the Jackson Hole News & Guide. “This sort of winter has been about as good as it gets for wintering ungulates. Temperatures have been well above average, and they have unlimited access to available forage.”
Cole said about all of the 50 elk, mostly bulls, found dead on the refuge are the result of scabies and none of the dead include any calves. He said those are the lowest mortality numbers he’s seen over the last two decades.
The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that, by contract, the winter of 2016-2017 left 310 elk dead including 210 calves.
(Photo source: Jerry McIntosh)