Ever Entertaining Elk of Rocky Mountain National Park
View Large ( http://darckr.com/photo?photoid=2688589966&width=1024&height=768&photoid=2693692930 ) on Black & be sure to see the additional tongue-delicious captures in the comments.
If there's one creature synonymous with Rocky Mountain National Park it has to be elk. Unfortunately without any wolves around to check overpopulation, their population has boomed to the point where they are altering the park's ecology and destroying habitat.
From the Park Service EIS ( http://www.nps.gov/romo/parkmgmt/elkveg_mgmt_plan_feis.htm ) :
Research conducted in the park indicates that the Rocky Mountain National Park / Estes Valley elk population is larger, less migratory, and more concentrated than it would be under natural conditions and has created a host of problems in the area. The most prominent is the alteration of plant communities in the core winter range and the potential for substantial declines in biodiversity within aspen and montane riparian willow communities.
I for one, would love to see the return of the wolf to RMNP, but unless they get there on their own I doubt the NPS will reintroduce them for population control and instead will rely on birth control and other methods of culling the herd. See the EIS for more of what is planned.
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