Elk reintroductions

By:
Edited by: Michael J. MacPaul A. OplerCatherine E. Puckett Haecker, and Peter D. Doran

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Abstract

Rocky Mountain elk are native to northcentral New Mexico, including the Jemez Mountains, whereas a different subspecies, Merriam’s elk, inhabited southern New Mexico, east-central Arizona, and the Mexican border region (Hall 1981). Merriam’s elk went extinct around 1900 in New Mexico, and native Rocky Mountain elk were extirpated by 1909 (Findley et al. 1975). Although elk were known to early inhabitants of the Jemez Mountains (Fig. 1), elk remains are seldom found in archaeological sites there. Indeed, two of three known elk remains from the Jemez Mountains (Table) came from archaeological sites dating to the late 1880’s, while the third is represented by a single bone tool dated at A.D. 1390 to 1520. This scarcity of elk in archaeological remains suggests that only small, local elk populations were present between A.D. 1150 and A.D. 1600. Elk numbers may have been suppressed by the many ancestral Pueblo people who inhabited the area, as suggested for nearby Arroyo Hondo by Lang and Harris (1984) and for the intermountain West by Kay (1994). The gray wolf, the most important natural predator of elk in the Jemez Mountains, was extirpated from the area by the 1940’s (Findley et al. 1975). Hunting has reduced local populations of another elk predator, the mountain lion (Allen 1989).

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Elk reintroductions
ISBN 016053285X
Year Published 1998
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 2 p.
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype Other Report
Larger Work Title Status and trends of the nation's biological resources
First page 577
Last page 578
Country United States
State New Mexico
Other Geospatial Bandelier National Monument, Jemez Mountains