If everything goes as planned, West Virginia’s small elk herd will grow by 60 animals in early 2018. Staffers with the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (WVDNR) will travel approximately 1,900 miles west to the desert Southwest to assist a private company and the Arizona Fish and Game Department with trapping.
“They have a highly professional staff out there, and they’ve bent over backward to assist us,” Paul Johansen, WVDNR wildlife chief, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “This is a classic example of one wildlife agency assisting another, and we very much appreciate the work they’re doing to make our elk reintroduction effort possible.”
The tentative plan is to capture 60 elk over three days and then outfit them with tags, radio collars and microchips before drawing blood samples for disease testing. The elk will then be held in a quarantine pen for 30 days to await test results and assure they’re disease-free. From there, they will be transported to West Virginia, placed into a holding pen and then released a short time later.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation assisted with the initial restoration in 2016 and is standing by to assist with additional efforts.
(Photo source: West Virginia Department of Natural Resources)