A project to capture and fit elk with radio collars is scheduled for today and Thursday in the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park near Medora, N.D.
The radio-collar project marks the beginning of the maintenance phase of the park’s elk management plan, the Park Service said in a news release. The park in 2010 and 2011 used “trained volunteers” to reduce elk populations that had become too high.
“We have completed the reduction phase of our elk management program,” Valerie Naylor, park superintendent, said in a statement. “However, we must continue to monitor and maintain the population. Collaring some of the elk will help us to achieve that goal.”
The National Park Service has contracted with Leading Edge Aviation of Lewiston, Idaho, which will provide a specially trained helicopter crew to locate elk and net them from the air. Biologists then will place radio collars on the elk and release them immediately. Between 17 and 21 programmable GPS collars will be deployed.
The radio collars, each with a lifespan of five to seven years, will transmit data that will allow park biologists to monitor elk location and movement, shedding light on preferred habitats and aiding in efforts to monitor the population.
For more information on the park’s Elk Management Plan, click here: