Posted October 07, 2018 09:59:00 Deer in Nevada are much more often found dead than elks, according to new research published in the journal PLOS ONE.
This is likely due to a host of factors, including poor air quality and human exposure to toxins in the water, said study co-author and University of Utah researcher, Lauren S. L. Wood.
The study analyzed deer deaths recorded in the state between 1995 and 2020 and found that elk were found dead on average 14.7 percent of the time.
The deer mortality rate for elk ranges from 2.9 to 4.3 percent.
For deer, the rate was 4.4 percent, but for elks it was 4 percent.
The authors attributed this difference to the greater number of deer being killed by hunting and trapping than elkhorn antelope, which were found to be the most common cause of deer deaths.
Elkhorn ants eat the deer and antelope respectively, but it is unclear how the antelope population impacted deer mortality in the past.
The paper was funded by the National Science Foundation, a cooperative effort of universities, businesses and public agencies.
This article has been updated to include new information from the National Park Service.