Wolf Reintroduction Considered for Elk Control in Colorado
Baca National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado is home to a growing population of elk. The elk are one of the largest mammals in the park, their population continues to grow, and the ecosystem is hurt by their large numbers. Elk are known to stay in one area, then over-use that area until it becomes useless to other animals.
Federal officials are working on a better way to manage the elk herds. One of four ideas that was presented is introducing wolves. Using Yellowstone National Park as a guideline for the wolf reintroduction; wolves were brought in to break up and move elk herds throughout the park. Introducing wolves to the picture has not been well supported, with stiff opposition from hunters and ranchers. Another thing to consider is how other states that had wolves reintroduced are currently struggling to manage and keep them under control.
There is no fast fix for the elk growth. With the four ideas being presented for elk control, officials do not expect to make a decision until 2014. For right now officials are planning to continue with hunting as a tool to manage the elk herds. Once there was talk of using wolves to control the elk herds in Rocky Mountain National Park, however the idea was shot down, and they use sharp shooters to help with the elk management. From The Billings Gazette.