HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife officials say Yellowstone National Park's northern elk herd count is down and that the herd will likely be affected by fewer calves surviving winter.

Park officials recently released the results of a population study conducted last month by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks that counted 5,800 elk in the herd.

That's 23 percent lower than the year before but higher than the 10-year average of 5,399 elk.

National Park Service officials said in a statement that the population trend has been rising and that the numbers can fluctuate with the quality of the survey and movement of the elk.

They say it's the second consecutive year they've counted fewer than 20 calves for every 100 cows, which is considered the level necessary to maintain a stable elk population.

More From KOWB 1290