Not all elk are created equal. Some are larger. Some are smaller. One cow elk originally observed in Kentucky had a bit of a limp. Several years later, it is leading its own best life in West Virginia after being transferred as part of an elk relocation project.
“When we were down there rounding them up, she had a limp. They really didn’t want to send her like that, but I told them, ‘She can limp in West Virginia as easy as she can limp in Kentucky.’” Randy Kelly, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources’ elk project leader, told the MetroNews.
Sure enough, officials with the U.S. Forest Service gave the thumbs up and the cow joined other captured elk for the move. Since then, it produced two elk calves in West Virginia despite spending the majority of her time away from the rest of the herd.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation provided funding and volunteer manpower to assist with the successful introduction of elk onto their historic West Virginia range in 2016 and additional land protection and habitat enhancement work. Since 1997, RMEF and its partners completed 51 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in West Virginia with a combined value of more than $9 million. These projects protected or enhanced 33,432 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 32,371 acres.
(Photo source: West Virginia Division of Natural Resources)