Hello, my name is
Age: 8 years
Birthday: June 27th
Favorite Food: Alfalfa
Favorite Activity: “wallowing” in my signature scent
Habitat/Range: Elk are native to North America. They migrate to higher elevation in the spring following the retreat of snow. In the fall, they come down from the mountains to the foothills where they feed on shrubs and tree bark. You can see elk herds around Cache Valley in the winter at Hardware Ranch.
Behavior: Many ungulates (such as elk, deer, bison, cows) are ruminant animals. These animals have an extra stomach to help them process all the vegetation they consume. They ferment food in this specialized stomach prior to digestion. Elk spend much of their time grazing on grasses but also consume forbs, tree branches, and bark.
Breeding: The elk mating season occurs in August, and bulls go through an intensive mating process called the Rut. During this time, bulls gather cows and calves in groups called harems and defend these harems from other bulls. They wallow in mud to coat themselves in urine, which acts as a “perfume” to attract females. They bugle and rub their antlers on trees and shrubs to attract mates and intimidate other males. Sometimes, bulls will “go to war” with other males for a harem. These usually are not deadly fights but occasionally result in a bull death. Cows normally give birth to one calf, which are spotted and scentless to protect them from predators.
Conservation: Listing: Least concern. Elk are not an endangered species but their range has drastically reduced. Habitat loss and illegal hunting has caused their populations to decline.