Can You Count the Number of Elk in This Massive Herd Caught on Camera by Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officials?

OUTDOORS

   01.04.21

How is your eyesight heading into the new year? Want to test it out? See if you can count the number of elk in this massive herd Colorado wildlife officials recorded during a recent annual big game survey.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife SE Region posted the video to their Twitter account, which shows dozens of elk sprinting across a field in Salida, located roughly 140 miles southwest of Denver.

The video was captured during the state Parks and Wildlife’s southeast region annual big game survey.

“We conduct flights each year to assess the health of big game herds,” officials wrote on Twitter. “This is an elk herd.”

Soaring above the stunning winter landscapes of Colorado, biologists fly around in a helicopter to find and report various big game animal species in designated areas. Flying at high rates of speed, the biologists have to spot a herd, quickly count the number of animals in said herd, and determine the sex and health. Not an easy task!

CPW collects counts on elk, bighorn sheep, rams, ewes, deer, pronghorn and other large animals. As you would expect, some animals are easier to spot and count than others, but I imagine there’s a learning curve to it just like anything else.

“It’s impossible to count all deer, elk, moose, pronghorn etc in CO. So Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists fly to get random samples,” wildlife officials wrote. “They ID herds by sex and age and use data to generate male-to-female ratios, estimate populations and compare to CPW targets.”

The data gathered during these informative flights can help biologists determine big game migration patterns and seasonal movements, according to wildlife officials. They also use the data to see social constructs with other herds in the region.



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