Search News Releases

Search mode:
"and" "or"
Search in:
Recent News Releases
(Last 30 days)
All News Releases
Emergency Fishing Rule Changes
Sport Fishing Rule Changes
Fish and Shellfish Health Advisories & Closures
Marine Biotoxin Bulletin
Beach closures due to red tide and other marine toxins
Local Fish Consumption Advisories
Health advisories due to contaminants
Fish Facts for Healthy Nutrition
Information on mercury, PCBs and other contaminants in fish
News Releases Archive
2014
Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr 
May  Jun  Jul  Aug 
Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec 
2013
Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr 
May  Jun  Jul  Aug 
Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec 
2012
Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr 
May  Jun  Jul  Aug 
Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec 
MORE ARCHIVES...
 

WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


March 03, 2003
Contact: Pat Fowler, 509-526-4377

  Digg it!  StumbleUpon  Reddit

New elk study underway in Blue Mountains

A new study to learn more about adult elk death rates and causes began this week with the capture of 64 elk in the Blue Mountains of southeast Washington by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) biologists.

The elk were captured in the Lick Creek, Tucannon, and Dayton units of the Blues, in portions of Asotin, Garfield, and Columbia counties. The capture operation used tranquilizing drugs shot from a helicopter and ground crews, including WDFW veterinarians, to handle the animals. Sixty were fitted with radio telemetry equipment to allow monitoring of their movements and detection of their deaths. Biologists also took blood and tooth samples from each for determination of age, general health, and DNA identification.

Four of the elk captured died -- three adult bulls and one spike or yearling bull. Since it is illegal to possess non-shed antlers from such animals, the antlers of the adult bulls were removed by WDFW biologists and will be used for education.

"We never want to lose any animals when we do this kind of work and we do everything in our power to prevent losses," explained WDFW district wildlife biologist Pat Fowler of Walla Walla. "But wildlife capture work is not like handling cattle in a pen. Wild animals can react unexpectedly to tranquilizing drugs or handling, possibly because of poor condition or general health problems undetected before capture."

The study, which is expected to continue for three years, is also designed to learn about the habitat factors involved in adult elk mortality. Biologists hope to understand how differences in private and public land habitat, road densities, and other factors make elk vulnerable to legal harvest, poaching, predation, disease, and other causes of death.

WDFW conducted an elk study in the Blues from 1990 to 1994, but it focused on habitat use and calf mortality.