|Poaching has serious implications in the Black Hills area|
|Thursday, 01 November 2012 15:27|
WCNP Chief of Interpretation Tom Farrell says, "We started working with the South Dakota department of Game Fish and Parks and also the Custer County and Fall River County Sheriff's Departments and within a couple of days, we had identified some suspects and from there, we worked with the US Attorney's Office to solve the case."
Farrell says the poached elk were only two out of an estimated herd of around 900 that make their way through the park during the winter. Although the impact of this incident is minuscule on an ecological level, Wind Cave says the impact to the park's visitor experience is immeasurable.
Farrell says, "National Parks are places where you're supposed to let nature take its course and it's just a tranquil place to be able to come and visit, so if a visitor were driving down the road and saw an elk that'd recent been killed, it definitely would change how they look at the park in terms of the wilderness aspect of it."
Farrell says the park is happy to see those who poached the two elk come to justice, but as the days start to get shorter, the park's wildlife faces a new threat: vehicle-animal collisions.
Farrell says, "This year alone, we've had five bison killed, three deer killed, and one pronghorn killed, and it's only going to get worse as the darkness rolls in. We have more people driving at night and winter driving conditions."
Wind Cave says motorists making their way through the park should be mindful of wildlife on the road and slow down accordingly, especially at night.