A third batch of wild, free-ranging elk are now on the ground and making their way through the forests of northern Wisconsin. This latest project marks the first relocation efforts into the Clam Lake elk range in more than 20 years.
“Bringing elk back is a generational thing,” said Kevin Wallenfang, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) elk ecologist and elk reintroduction coordinator. “A lot of people have been involved in making this happen and hopefully these animals are going to be here for people to enjoy in perpetuity and that’s our goal.”
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation provided funding and support along with other key project partners such as the Wisconsin DNR, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Flambeau River State Forest, U.S. Forest Service and others.
Following two years of translocation efforts in Jackson County, focus shifted back to the original northern herd that resides primarily in Sawyer County, which originated from 25 Michigan elk released in 1995. Twenty-eight elk arrived at the holding pen in late March, but numbers grew slightly as pregnant cows gave birth this summer.
“We bring elk to Wisconsin just for people to see the beautiful creatures. It’s just awesome that we now have them in the state of Wisconsin,” said Vicki Peltonen, RMEF board member.
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(Video source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)