Rocky Mountain NP's Elk Problem
Now, I'm not a hunter, so I don't know much about these things, but apparently it costs a heckuva lot to kill elk these days.
The folks at Rocky Mountain National Park say a plan to use sharpshooters to reduce the park's elk herd could cost as much as $18 million. You see, first you have to hire staff or hunters to do the deadly deed, and then you have to pay to erect fences to protect vegetation from the elk you don't kill, and then you have to pay to haul off the dead elk and test them for disease and to process them.
(Now, why they'd need to test them is beyond me. I mean, the folks up at Yellowstone National Park this past winter rounded up hundreds of bison under the guise of combating brucellosis and sent them off to slaughter without actually testing to see if they carried the disease. But I digress.)
Frankly, it seems Rocky Mountain officials could save quite a few dollars by staging an annual elk hunt. Sure, it might not be popular with animal lovers, but neither is sending teams of sharpshooters armed with silencer-outfitted rifles into the night to kill elk. And think of all the families an annual hunt would feed. And if the hunters had to buy permits, the park might even come out ahead!
Of course, there's another option (although it's probably been discarded because of the distance involved). In light of Great Smoky Mountains National Park's dilemma with not having enough cow elk, perhaps the two parks could get together on a transplant program.