In December 2016, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources welcomed back a species that had not inhabited the state since 1875. More than twenty elk were reintroduced at the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area near Logan in the southwestern part of the state. Through a partnership with The Conservation Fund, more than 32,000 acres of publicly accessible land has been acquired to establish a wildlife management area large enough to sustain an elk population.
What has been Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s role in West Virginia’s elk reintroduction efforts?
Steven Dobey/RMEF Conservation Program Manager: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s mission is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat, and our hunting heritage. It’s not very often that we have the opportunity to work on a project where restoration efforts are being undertaken in conjunction with land acquisition efforts. Being able to tie in these two components of the West Virginia project—the simultaneous land acquisition and release of the elk—was so important and we were supportive of the project from the very beginning.
Our role has been two-fold. We’ve provided support as both a financial partner for restoration and research efforts as well as some habitat work, and we also provided logistical and technical support during the elk capture efforts in Kentucky at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in November 2016.
Go here to read the entire blog post about the elk reintroduction from the Conservation Fund.