GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — Wildlife biologists will be putting GPS collars on ten adult elk between late August and October of this year to gather movement data of the elk at Grand Canyon National Park. The GPS collar information will be used to inform the development of a draft elk management plan.
Biologists will examine the elk for two years to better understand their movement and interaction with visitors and residents within the South Rim Village. The collar data will allow the biologists to determine what areas in the park elk may be attracted to, and how they move around the Village seasonally.
All of the elk selected for this project weigh a minimum of 300 pounds. The collars weigh two pounds, less than one percent of the elk’s weight, and it does not harm the animal in any way. The collar will drop off of the elk after two years, so they will not be recaptured to remove the collar.
Though not native to the area, elk are commonly found in the park and have become comfortable foraging and moving among people and developed areas within the Village. As a result, elk and people often come too close, which can result in dangerous situations and negative outcomes. Biologists have gained some knowledge of what the elk are attracted to and where they spend time within the Village, but do not have a complete picture of how they move on a seasonal and annual basis.
Wildlife biologists remind public to always keep at least 100 ft, or two bus lengths, away from wild animals.
Information provided by Grand Canyon National Park.