Wildlife CSI – Panhandle Elk Mortality Study
July 4, 2019
The Panhandle region placed 172 GPS radio-collars on 6-month old elk calves in the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe River drainages since 2015. A couple reasons we collared so many elk was to determine survival rates and for those elk that didn’t make it, find out why they died.
The GPS collars have a signal that activates once the collar hasn’t moved for several hours, indicating a mortality. Next, the collar sends an e-mail to biologists with the location of the collar. It’s pretty amazing technology, something that wasn’t available just a few years ago, and it’s giving us new insight into what’s affecting the elk population. We try to hike out to every dead elk within a day or two of receiving the mortality signal so we have the best chance of figuring out what happened.
Author(s): Laura Wolf