Cuba High School
A possible solution to the overpopulation of elk in New Mexico
o In Northern New Mexico, the elk population is overcrowded. They are damaging property of the ranchers nearby. As a result of this overpopulation of elk, they are seeking food in ranchers’ alfalfa fields and other areas instead of the normal range. This problem is important because ranchers are having to rebuild damaged property causing a money loss for them. Ranchers are having problems keeping cattle within grazing limits resulting in penalties and fines from the Forest Service. With no other solution the Game and Fish Department has decided to destroy 20% of the elk population in highly affected areas. This project will help identify a better solution this problem.
The first step to take is gathering information on the number of elk, eating habits, and their habitat from the Forest Service, High Country Outfitting, and the Game and Fish Department of New Mexico. Second, graph the population of elk and the elk being terminated by ranchers and hunters. A computer program will be written to predict the numbers of elk and how much alfalfa can be produced to feed the elk. Weather patterns for one year will be used to predict weather for the next year determining the amount of moisture avaliable for crop production. This will indicate crop growth for the given season. Finally, the predictions will help determine how many elk hunting permits should be issued for any given area. These hunts will help reduce the overpopulation of elk in a controlled manner. Team Members: