predators

Melodie Edwards

In a canyon near Rock Springs, a helicopter descends, and two coyotes are handed out, bound and blindfolded. University of Wyoming researchers place them on a mat, the animals calm and still. UW Zoology and Physiology Ph.D. student Katey Huggler oversees this study.

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

University of Wyoming researchers are trying to find out if predators are affecting the low population of mule deer near Rock Springs. Statewide, mule deer have declined by 31 percent since 1991. As part of the project, researchers put tracking collars on 30 coyotes and have been watching their behavior to see if their behavior changes during peak times when fawns are born. 


A study by the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit shows that elk migrating to and from Yellowstone are raising fewer calves than in the past.

Report co-author Arthur Middleton says hot, dry weather has limited the amount of forage available, so fewer elk have been getting pregnant. Plus, he says wolves and bears are rebounding and killing more elk calves.

He says in contrast, non-migratory elk outside the park are doing well, because land is irrigated, and predators are scarce.