Kentucky is home to more than 10,000 free ranging elk. These elk occur in 18 counties in southeastern Kentucky and are the result of efforts by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to reintroduce this once extirpated species. As the heard in Kentucky continues to grow and do well, Kentucky has the opportunity to help other states reintroduce elk that were extirpated there. The states of Missouri and Virginia both have requested elk from kentucky to reestablish their populations.
In December and January the last two years, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has captured elk to send to Missouri and Virginia. A total of approximately 50 elk will be divided among the two states. After all 50 elk are captured, the begin a series of tests to ensure they are disease free before being moved.
I had the opportunity to joint the biologists and vets from Kentucky, Missouri, and Virginia as they ran the elk through the examination and testing progress. They have the process down to a science and each animal is handled and tested with an absolute minimum of disturbance. It is amazing to watch and be a part of it.