Living in Colorado, it's easy to take for granted our enormous elk herds. After all, Colorado is home to more than 280,000 animals—the largest elk population in the world. But did you know that elk were near extinction at the turn of the century? In the early 1900s, only 40,000 elk remained in all of North America. The elk's dramatic demise was attributed to unregulated market-hunting. In 1916, Colorado imported 50 elk from Wyoming to reestablish dwindling herds. The elk were transported and released in Idaho Springs and in the Greenhorn Mountains in Pueblo County. From these meager transplants, and through decades of trapping and relocation efforts by wildlife managers, elk populations have soared to the abundant herds for which Colorado is now famous.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), in cooperation with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and other sportsmen's groups, continues to conduct research, protect key winter range and migration corridors and improve statewide habit to ensure Colorado's elk herds remain abundant for future generations.
Elk Research Projects: