CHICAGO -- Elk like to eat. Elk like to eat a lot.
This is a problem for creatures fond of the same greenery coveted by the weighty elk. It is not so good for the ecosystem, either, according to the stewards of three national parks in Colorado and the Dakotas that are faced with growing herds of the herbivorous mammals.
Scientists at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota are preparing to do an elk count, sending an airplane aloft after a fresh snow, when it is easier to spot the quarry in rugged terrain.
Reducing elk herds is not a gentle business. The National Park Service mostly figures on shooting elk, either on parkland using staff members and designated deputies, or on private land where hunters can load up.