Photos of elk in fall and spring show the toll winter takes on wildlife (letter)
See the toll winter takes on wildlife
Wildlife managers and biologists often talk about the health of animals and the impact that winter and human stress has on them.
These are certainly not the same animal, but they are relatively the same size. The first is a fall shot in Rocky Mountain National Park near Grand Lake Entrance Station. The second is a spring shot on the Trough Road near the Gore Canyon Overlook.
Winter took a toll. The change in body mass due to stress and to lower amount of nourishment obtained in the winter is pretty evident. Animals that are living on a starvation diet have a really tough time.
Animals are adapted to the environment where they live, but human development, activities, parking lots and highways restrict the ability of wildlife to get the nutrition they need.
It’s ironic that both of these elk have the same broken/missing tine on the left side.