Climate change may favor couch-potato elk | Science News

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Climate change may favor couch-potato elk

Heading for the hills every spring appears worse than staying put

10:18am, June 22, 2010

LARAMIE, Wyo. — Warming temperatures could help explain why migration isn’t such a hot idea anymore for some elk living in and around Yellowstone National Park.

About a third of what’s called the Clarks Fork elk herd moves at the end of winter from land around Cody, Wyo., up to grasslands at high elevations in Yellowstone, said ecologist Arthur Middleton of the University of Wyoming in Laramie. When the flush of summer greenery ends and the fierce high-elevation winter nears, these elk return to lower elevations.

Migration supposedly lets animals follow the best food of the season, Middleton said. But the migratory elk are dwindling in number, whil

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