BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — State and federal biologists say elk numbers in the northern part of Yellowstone National Park have stabilized after a long-term decline.

More than 5,300 elk were counted earlier this month in Yellowstone's northern range and areas outside the park near Gardiner, Montana. The elk numbers were released Monday as part of the Northern Yellowstone Wildlife Working Group elk survey.

They show a 9 percent increase in the area's elk population from 2016 and mark the third consecutive year the count has surpassed 4,800.

Biologists say it appears elk numbers have rebounded from a significant decline that started in the mid-1990s.

But even with the growth, the Yellowstone area elk population is still far below what it was in 1994, when 19,000 elk were counted.