An elk monitoring project in the Blue Mountains of Washington continues to produce alarming results and has become a potential point of philosophical conflict among the state’s Fish and Wildlife commissioners.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife effort began in May with the capture of 125 elk calves that were fitted with tracking collars. Through the middle of November, only 11 of those animals were still alive. Two died during the initial capture, seven have slipped their collars and their fate is unknown, and biologists have documented 105 deaths. Of those, 77 were attributed to predation, with 54, or 70 percent, caused by mountain lions.