Study tests elk herd’s tolerance of coalbed gas development

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Fortification Creek elk herd roams the isolated sage brush country and steep rocky breaks of the Powder River Basin. The herd is prized by hunters for its trophy class bulls. The herd also lives in a region ripe for coalbed natural gas development.

Given the confluence of pressures, government wildlife officials have joined with the University of Wyoming and energy companies for a $500,000 study aimed at figuring out how much energy development the elk can tolerate. Biologists recently collared 39 of the animals to monitor their behavior over the next four years.

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