Update On Culling Operations At Rocky Mountain National Park
Culling operations have concluded at Rocky Mountain National Park for this
winter. Forecasts of the number of female elk to be culled last September suggested that up to 100 animals may be taken to keep the population within historic numbers. Recent modeling of historic data as well as two surveys completed by the park within the last few weeks suggests that 30 to 40 female elk should be culled, and that the park population is likely within the range of 600-800 elk as prescribed in the Elk and Vegetation Management Plan. To date the park has culled 33 (20 in support of research related to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and multi-year fertility control research and 13 as part of park culling operations); additionally, there has been one road killed elk. During the culling period, there were two recorded kills by mountain lion(s) as well, that we are aware of.
Park staff will continue to monitor the population to determine what management actions will be needed for next winter.
To recap the numbers:
20 taken in support of the CWD/Multi-year fertility control research/study- these animals were darted and euthanized by researchers
13 were taken by the culling team. First day of the culling operation was January 27, 2009 the last day an elk was culled was February 19, 2009.
CWD testing has been completed on 11 of the 13 animals culled. Eleven tested CWD not detected two tests are pending.
In addition during the culling operation:
One road kill (one female elk)
Two mountain lion kills that we are aware of (one female and one male elk).