Elks are beautiful, majestic animals. While these animals are not native to the Grand Canyon, they have gotten quite comfortable inhabiting the South Rim. Although, despite the frequent sightings of these three-hundred-pound animals, researchers do not know much about them. The elk and the affinity the species have to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is a mystery.
Fortunately, Elks do not pose a danger to people or the environment. They are respectful of their surrogate inhabitance. Thus, there is no effort being taken to remove the animals from their habitat. Yet, researchers want to learn more about the animal’s movements. Biologists have gained some insight into the animals’ interactions. Yet, they do not know what the animal does on a seasonal, much less annual basis.
That is why wildlife biologists have started the collaring effort. Through collaring the Elk, biologists hope to understand the true nature of their relationship with other South Rim inhabitants. This includes learning more about their interaction with humans; both visitors and residents. This study is also to help determine specific locations within the park that attract Elk.
The tracking started in late August 2018 and hopes to continue for two years. That way, researchers can garner resources that help pinpoint the Elks’ movements seasonally. That way, biologists can start to devise a pattern.
The collars that are tracking the Elks go to great lengths to be easily ignored by the animal. At two-pounds each, the collars weigh only two-percent of the chosen Elk’s body weight. Additionally, the collars are only for tracking purposes. The collars do not harm the animal at all. They are not even meant to be able to find the animal again physically. Instead, the collars are meant to fall off the animal after the research is conducted. The resolve of this is so that the animals will not have to go through the stress of unnecessary human contact.
Also, this experiment is doing everything it can so that trained professionals leave the Elks alone as much as possible. Therefore, biologists, naturalists, and Grand Canyon officials would like to get results without imposing stress on the animals. To do this, it is important that tourists leave the Elks alone. While these animals do not pose a threat, they are still wild animals. Thus, getting too close to them could result in a dangerous situation for both human and Elk. Therefore, it would be appreciated if the Elk, as well as all the Grand Canyon wildlife, were given space.
This will help researchers receive the best results and it will also be beneficial to the wildlife’s wellbeing.