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Decline of Migratory Elk in Yellowstone National Park Topic of Thursday Talk

June 10, 2013

New ecological and conservation challenges for migratory elk in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem are the topic of the first weekly summer lecture series Thursday, June 13, at the University of Wyoming-National Park Service (UW-NPS) Research Center. The center is located at the AMK Ranch in Grand Teton National Park.

Arthur Middleton, a recent University of Wyoming Ph.D. graduate, who is now a post-doctoral fellow at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, will discuss “The Changing Ecology of Elk Migration in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem” at 6:30 p.m. at the AMK Ranch, located north of Leeks Marina. A barbecue, at a cost of $5 per person, will take place at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are not required. For more information, call the UW-NPS Center at (307) 543-2463.

Each spring, thousands of elk migrate from far-flung winter ranges to high-elevation Yellowstone National Park summer ranges.

“With the recent recovery of their primary predators -- wolves and grizzly bears -- some elk populations also are being affected by drought, disease and invasive species, with some herds experiencing pronounced declines,” Middleton says.

His presentation will address the issues by drawing on observations from intensive field study of the Clarks Fork elk herd, and also his ongoing research. Middleton’s research recently was published in a special “Forum” section of the journal Ecology.

Middleton’s presentation will kick off a series of nine weekly summer seminars at the center.

The night before his presentation at the UW-NPS Center, Middleton will speak Wednesday, June 12, at the Teton County Library in Jackson about the interaction of wolves and the Clarks Fork elk herd. The 6:30 p.m. talk, hosted by the Game and Fish Department and the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, is free and open to the public.

The UW-NPS Research Center provides a base for university faculty members and government scientists from throughout North America to conduct research in the diverse aquatic and terrestrial environments of Grand Teton National Park and the greater Yellowstone area.

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