Northern Range Yellowstone elk count drops to record low in latest count

Latest  is 4,635 elk, count is down 24 percent from 6,070 last winter-
Wolf population was over 100, 5 years ago; now down to 37-*

Update. Leader of the Yellowstone wolf team, Dr. Doug Smith talks about the elk situation on Montana Public Radio News. Note that it is not the first story in the “evening news.”

News Release from the
Northern Yellowstone Cooperative Wildlife Working Group 

Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, & Parks – Contact:  Karen Loveless
406-224-1162
National Park Service – Contact:  Doug Smith 307-344-2242
U.S. Forest Service – Contact: Dan Tyers 406-848-7375
U.S. Geological Survey – Contact:  Paul Cross 406-994-6908

January 12, 2011

Winter Count Shows Decline In Northern Elk Herd Population
———————————————————-

Wildlife biologists say increased predation, ongoing drought, and hunting
pressure all contributed to a decline in the northern Yellowstone elk
population from 1995 to 2010.

The annual aerial survey of the herd conducted during December 2010
resulted in a count of 4,635 elk, down 24 percent from the 6,070 reported
the previous year. There has been about a 70 percent drop in the size of
the northern elk herd from the 16,791 elk counted in 1995 and the start of
wolf restoration to Yellowstone National Park.

Obscure mountain ranges of southern Idaho, NW Utah, and Eastern Nevada

Updated Feb. 12, 2010. This has been a very popular post. I first posted it about 3 years ago, and now I have enlarged and updated it. Ralph Maughan

Ah the Tetons, Wind Rivers, Sawtooths and White Clouds, Wallowas, Bitterroots, Beartooth, and Unitas!
I love all the mountains. I decided to do a major photo essay on the little-known and often little-appreciated ranges of the NW Great Basin. I have left out the Wasatch Range, Ruby Mountains, Schell Creek Range, and Snake Range because I think they are much more prominent in the public’s eye.

Albion Range (Southern Idaho)-

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In the photo is Cache Peak, taken from near Almo, Idaho. Copyright © Ralph Maughan

This is an unusual range consisting mostly of just two big mountains, Mt. Harrison and Cache Peak (the highest mountain in Idaho south of the Snake River). The range is just east of Burley and Oakley, Idaho. The amazing Silent City of Rocks is at the range’s southern end.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why are the feds paying $3.3 million to graze for 30 years on land worth only about $4 million?

More on the Royal Teton Ranch bison grazing deal

My earlier article about the Church Universal and Triumphant’s $3.3 million deal with the government and some conservation groups for bison grazing has spurred the AnimalTourism blog to do some more investigation into the value of the Royal Teton Ranch itself. What they conclude is pretty interesting. They estimate the value of the ranch to be about $3.9 million.

They ask one question though that I think can be easily answered. Why didn’t the government just buy the RTR rather than pay the exorbitant fee for 30 years of bison grazing? Well, I think that would have been a more reasonable approach too but the CUT didn’t want to sell and the government isn’t buying much anymore these days. The CUT appears to be struggling financially without these payments so they sought the best deal they could and found gullible government agencies and conservationists. It’s a shameful situation.

Why are the feds paying $3.3 million to graze for 30 years on land worth only about $4 million?
AnimalTourism News.