Now that wild, free-ranging elk are back on the ground in West Virginia, elk are now featured on new a West Virginia specialty license plate.
“I think people will want to have West Virginia’s largest big-game species on a license plate,” Scott Warner, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Wildlife Heritage Program lead, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “We have a lot of people who are interested in wildlife, and they’re really excited about the elk restoration effort.”
Artist Rhea Knight got the nod to create the plate.
“When I first heard about elk being reintroduced to West Virginia, I got very excited. I had seen elk during visits to the Western states, and I really looked forward to seeing them in an Eastern setting,” Knight told the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “When I found out the DNR was going to get their first shipment of elk from the Land Between the Lakes Elk and Bison Prairie in Western Kentucky, my husband and I drove 7 hours and took a bunch of pictures of the elk there. From those pictures, I was able to do a painting of an elk with a background of the same trees you’d see in West Virginia.”
Fifteen dollars from the $30 reservation fee will to go the DNR’s Wildlife Heritage Fund.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation assisted with the initial successful reintroduction of elk to West Virginia in 2016, provided funding to expand elk range in 2017 and supplied funding and volunteer manpower to follow-up restorations including a 2018 cross-country effort that originated in Arizona.
(Video source: Charleston Gazette-Mail)