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Theodore Roosevelt National Park removes 46 elk for population maintenance

MEDORA, N.D. -- Theodore Roosevelt National Park officials said Thursday that 46 elk were removed from the park's South Unit during the maintenance phase for managing the herd's population.

The elk were removed by park staff between Nov. 5 and Dec. 5, according to a news release. The park maintains elk numbers in accordance with its Elk Management Plan, which has required moderate reductions in the years following drastic elk population reductions in 2010 and 2011 to keep the herd at its desired limits.

Park Superintendent Valerie Naylor said the project was completed without injuries and minimal impact to the park's visitors and operations.

"Elk numbers in the park will be reassessed in late summer of 2014, with the need for another maintenance phase reduction being determined then," Naylor said in the release.

About 7,500 pounds of meat was packed out of the park during the maintenance phase, much of which was donated to Sportsmen Against Hunger through the North Dakota Community Action Partnership.

The backcountry in the South Unit, which was closed three days per week during the elk removal effort, is now open to visitors all of the time.