As part of a joint effort between Kentucky and Wisconsin to reintroduce elk to the existing Clam Lake herd as well as establish a new herd in the Black River State Forest, the “class of 2017” has arrived in Wisconsin.

“We are very excited to be adding more elk to the northern elk herd -working alongside Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources staff has been such a positive experience,” Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp said.  “This is yet another milestone we would not have reached without help from Kentucky and our other partners -whether through volunteer hours or donations, their support has led to a true team effort.”

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Trail camera photo of the first known wild born calf in the Black River Elk Range in over 100 years. Wisconsin DNR

Heading into the third year of a five-year reintroduction program, officials from both the Wisconsin DNR and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife have been working hard to ensure trapping and relocation efforts are as smooth as possible for the animals involved.

The 28 new arrivals will be enclosed in a seven-acre holding pen in order for officials to safely assess the health of the animals as well as give them a chance to familiarize themselves in their new habitat.  Officials are however asking visitors to the area to steer clear of the quarantine area as they aim to minimize human disturbance to the animals during this sensitive time.

“The task of actually bringing elk to Jackson County is complete, and we are now shifting our relocation efforts to the northern herd,” said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist.  “Our hope is to deliver up to 75 elk to the Clam Lake area over two years, but we have an option to return for a fifth year if necessary.”

 

Feature Image:  Wisconsin DNR