Elk NetworkFiery Ping Pong Balls Improve Habitat for Colorado Elk

General | May 20, 2021

There’s nothing like getting new groceries, especially when you’re hungry. Come next winter, hungry elk in Colorado’s northcentral Rocky Mountains about 100 miles west of Denver will have bolstered forage thanks to a project featuring some funky science.

A helicopter recently took to the sky north of the small community of Edwards. It carried a supply of what look like ping pong-sized fishing bobbers. The colorful spheres contain a powder form of potassium permanganate which, when shaken, create a chemical reaction that triggers a fire. The chopper dropped the fire balls in the mountains where elk live.

“By burning this area we’re killing some aspen and causing re-sprouting to occur, which actually provides really protein-rich forage for elk and helps them survive during the tough winter months,” Jen Prusse, Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District wildlife biologist, told KCNC-TV.

Go here to watch a news report about the project.

(Photo sources:  Colorado Parks and Wildlife)