Yellowstone elk numbers decline

Published: Monday, March 25 2013 7:50 p.m. MDT

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — A major elk herd that migrates between Yellowstone National Park and Montana continues to decline in size, with scientists reporting it now has fewer than 4,000 animals.

Scientists from the park and the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks said the Northern Yellowstone elk herd is down 6 percent last winter, to 3,915 animals.

The herd peaked at about 20,000 animals in 1992. That was just a few years before gray wolves were reintroduced to the Yellowstone area from Canada after being absent from the region for decades.

Also taking a toll on the herd have been hunters, other predators including mountain lions and bears, and harsh winters.

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