“Elk, deer and moose — those animals are having a pretty tough time,” Wyoming Game and Fish biologist Doug Brimeyer told Reuters.
High mortality rates have been observed in the populations of young mule deer, white-tailed deer and pronghorn antelope.
Officials estimate that tens of thousands of the big-game animals have died across thousands of square miles, from the prairie of northeastern Montana, southward into Idaho and Wyoming.
Observers at the National Elk Refuge near Jackson, Wyoming, say many thousands more elk than usual have been crowding into the reserve in a desperate bid to survive.
Photo: Dept. of the Interior