Wildlife battle it out in 2nd Annual March Mania Tournament

(Jackson, Wyo.) - The National Elk Refuge plans to get caught up in the spirit of the NCAA’s March Madness again this year, creating a wildlife popularity poll using brackets and playoffs similar to those used for the Division 1 basketball tournament. Staff will host two contests per day, providing photographs of the animal pairs at the front desk where the voting will take place. A large wall–sized bracket in the theater will show the current standing as the competition progresses. “We had a lot of fun with the contest last year,” said winter naturalist Julie Stetson. “It was exciting for the Visitor Center staff when it came down the final game.” Last year, the bald eagle snatched up the championship title, edging out the badger by a narrow margin. A 16–team single elimination tournament bracket is also posted on the Refuge’s web site. The Swell Sixteen animal match–ups and their “game days” include: - March 20: Game 1 – bison vs. raven ; Game 2 – mountain lion vs. pronghorn - March 21: Game 3 – elk vs. sage grouse ; Game 4 – cutthroat trout vs. mule deer - March 22: Game 5 – sandhill crane vs. badger ; Game 6 – bald eagle vs. moose - March 23: Game 7 – trumpeter swan vs. coyote ; Game 8 – bighorn sheep vs. gray wolf - March 24 – 27: Extraordinary Eight play–offs - March 28 – 29: Fabulous Four play–offs - March 30: Championship final The official rules of the 2015 National Elk Refuge March Mania Wildlife Tournament are as follows: 1. Two contests per day are scheduled during the tournament, except for the Championship Final on March 30. Participants may vote only once in each playoff game. 2. Voters may use any criteria for making their selection: the animal they like the best, the one they think would be most likely to win in the event of an actual live confrontation, the way the animal is portrayed in the photograph that will be displayed on “game day,” etc. The selection criteria is at the discretion of the voter. 3. In the event of a tie, the winner will be determined by a coin toss. Wildlife fans of all ages can vote for their favorite animal by casting a ballot at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, located at 532 N. Cache Street in Jackson. Visitor Center hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm during the winter season. May the best critter win. *Feature Photo: h/t National Elk Refuge / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news