Elk herd crossing Highway 97A in search of food

Snow at higher elevations forces herd to move into valleys

Why did the elk cross the road near Enderby?

Likely in search of food, says Andrew Walker, a wildlife biologist with the provincial ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD).

And drivers who travel Highway 97A between Salmon Arm and Vernon should keep a close eye on the straight stretch near the Starlight Drive-in, because Walker believes there’s a good chance the herd of about 70 elk will cross the road again.

There are several other herds in the Upper Shuswap that may mix with each other in different times of the year, he says, pointing out that recent snow has brought them down from higher elevations.

Read more: Elk herd crosses highway in B.C.’s Okanagan

Read more: Elk running across Enderby highway killed in car crash

“We don’t really know why they moved, but I would speculate they were just going to where there is food to support them without being disturbed,” Walker says, noting the elk may have been disturbed from the new site. “There are small herds scattered from Falkland all the way up to Cherryville; they’ve been around for a long time and they’re probably doing a little better.”

Read more: Column: Elk moving up into Shuswap area

Walker says there have been recent reports that elk have been moving into the Thompson region in search of new food sources. While a formal inventory of the herd near Enderby has not been done, Walker says it is on his to-do list.

“We pick them up incidentally on moose surveys and get lots of reports from the ranching community, so we loosely keep inventory,” he says.

While they haven’t had complaints this winter, Walker says elk will help themselves to hay and stored feed if it’s not properly secured. And the herbivores, who enjoy shrubs and grass, will view a nutritious field of alfalfa as a delicious buffet.

In the meantime, Walker says he’s thankful the herd is, so far, crossing the road on a straight stretch with excellent visibility.


@SalmonArm
barb.brouwer@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Agreement reached for Vernon beach maintenance

Deal between Okanagan Indian Band and Regional District of North Okanagan for Sandy Beach on OK Lake

Time’s running out for say in new Vernon park

A survey seeking input on the city’s new park design is set to close on July 20

Morning Start: Big Bertha is the oldest cow to ever live

Your morning start for Tuesday, July 14, 2020

COVID-19 cancels 2 main Armstrong-Spallumcheen events

Community Excellence Awards, Citizen of the Year, cancelled for 2020; both to return in 2021

Spallumcheen looks to photo contest for website revamp

Residents would submit entries covering the four seasons for use on township website, documents

Sources say Canada, U.S. likely to extend mutual travel ban into late August

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at the possibility after a phone call with U.S. President

Hitchhiker with metal pipe prompts RCMP to close of Highway 1 near Salmon Arm

Police respond to report of man who pointed what was believed to be a rifle at passing driver

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Summerland approves solar project

Despite community opposition, council voted 4-3 for Cartwright Mountain location

Police search for suspect in assault on woman in downtown Kelowna

Kelowna police received a report a woman had been assaulted by an unknown man on July 12

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Two positive COVID-19 cases at Oliver farm

The risk of exposure to the general public related to this farm is considered to be low

Oliver Town Hall closed to public as staffer displays COVID-19 symptoms

One staff member at Oliver Town Hall is being tested for coronavirus

Most Read