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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Kentucky which reintroduced Elk to their state in 1997 now have a herd of 100,000 strong...............The Bluegrass state wildlife officials have been collaborating with nearby Virginia in a restoration program which thus far has 24 Elk placed in the "Commonwealth"----Over the next 10 years, a herd of 400 is envisioned................My question as always for both states is where is the corresponding predator restoration program as it relates to Pumas and Wolves...............Yes, Coyotes and Black Bears will take out a % of Elk Calves but the true Elk and Deer hunters(Wolves and Pumas) have long been absent from this part of the world................Over time, the Elk/Deer combo is sure to nub forest and meadow ground layers to the quick with biodiversity suffering in the process

Virginia to take in 

more Kentucky 

elk in May

Southwest Virginia will see
 its second
 delivery of elk in May
 under a pilot program to
introduce the
Rocky Mountain
 version of a native species
 that was las
t seen in the state
around the time of the Civil
One year ago, 16 elk were
 moved from
 Kentucky to Virginia's
 Buchanan County
 in the first
installment of what eventually
 could be
hundreds of elk
 roaming the state's far
 southwest coal
country. That initial
 number has grown to 24
 with the arrival
of eight calves.
In late May, approximately
 the same number
 of elk will
 arrive from Kentucky,
 which began
them in
 1997. They now number
 more than 10,000.
Kentucky's experience
 hasn't been conflict
 free. Some
 residents have complained
 of wayward
elk trampling
gardens and causing car
 crashes. A bull
 elk can weigh
in at 700 to 800 pounds,
 much larger than
 native deer that
 range from 150 to 200 pounds.
In Virginia, wildlife officials
 say the experiment
 has gone
 smoothly, but they're
 proceeding with caution.
"We have gone slowly
on this," said Allen
 Boynton of the
 Virginia Department of
Game and Inland
 Fisheries. "We'll
 see how it goes,
see what public support
is like and public
 reaction and demonstrate
 our capability
 to manage the
 animals that is a benefit
to the community."
A trail camera photo shows an elk last fall in Buchanan County, Va., where more elk will be moved in May.
In 2014, up to 75 elk will be
 released in
 Virginia with the
 goal of increasing the herd
 to 400 animals
 in eight to 10
years, said Boynton, the
 terrestrial wildlife
Elk have actually been in
 the state in the
150 years since
the Civil War. An
estimated 50 have
 wandered over from
 Kentucky in recent years.
The department is partnering
 with the Rocky
 Mountain Elk
Foundation and Buchanan
County to return
 elk to three
counties: Buchanan, Dickenson
 and Wise.
The transplanted elk primarily
 graze atop a
 reclaimed strip
mine, the same manmade
 habitat that is
used in Kentucky.
 It's their travels off the
 mountains that have
 stirred complaints.
In Virginia, Boynton said,
the elk "have pretty
 much stayed in
 the area where we
released them."
In Virginia, the program
 was opposed by the
 Virginia Farm
 Bureau, the state
 veterinarian and the state
 Department of
Agriculture and Consumer
 Services. They
 cited the possible
 spread of
 disease to livestock,
 damage to fences and
 elk munching
fruit in orchards.
A spokeswoman for the
 agriculture department
said that
remains its position.
"We have worked
 cooperatively with DGIF
management to
devise the best health
 plan we can to protect
our livestock
 from elk that are imported
 into Virginia," Elaine
 said in an email. "We
 continue to have the same
 as before about diseases
 threats from wild elk
The Farm Bureau's Wilmer
 Stoneman III said the
 position of
 the state's largest farm lobby
 is unchanged. Since
the arrival
 of the first elk from Kentucky,
 "We've been
 cautiously and
 quietly watching," said
 Stoneman, associate
 director of
 governmental relations
. He said he was not
 aware of any documented
 elk-farmer conflicts.
Boynton said the Kentucky
elk are quarantined
 for 90 days
 they arrive in Virginia and
 undergo testing for
a number of
Sportsmen's groups and
 some officials in
 depressed southwest
 Virginia promoted
the program to
 elk back to the state.
 Native elk were hunted
 into extinction.
While the program is
 intended to return a
native species,
wildlife officials also
 envision other future
benefits, including
 hunting and viewing by
 visitors. No elk
 hunting is now allowed
in the three counties.
Asked about the chances
 of seeing an
elk now, Boynton said
 the long haul to southwest
Virginia wouldn't
be worth it. "There's
 just so few," he said.


Dave Messineo said...

I think the 100, 000 figure for the Kentucky elk population is a misprint.....shouldn't it be 10,000.

Good article nevertheless, and I wish New York state would get on the ball and restore elk. Chronic wasting disease is the reason given by NYDEC to prevent any elk releases in areas such as the Catskills.

Anonymous said...

Yes 100,000 is too high. I know this because I live in Kentucky. As for predators, the original reintroduction location of red wolves was at the "Land Between the Lakes" area in far western Kentucky.For various reasons, not the least of which was the poor communication between the U.S.F.& W.S. and the locals, the project was scrapped opening the door for Alligator River. It is still an excellent place for red wolves; no people live there, no livestock, federally owned and managed by the U.S.F.S. and plenty of game species (including elk and even bison).

In eastern Kentucky, a study was done by a University of Cincinnati student regarding the viability of a possible red wolf reintroduction in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
Further east, a lot of the land is owned by coal companies so I doubt a reintroduction would even be attempted. For example, to go to Kentucky's highest mountain, Black Mountain, you have to obtain permission from one of the coal companies.
Overall though I agree we need another predator here.

Rick Meril said...

Dave.........your 10,000 is correct.................misprint in article...thanks for fact cheeking this