Native species of Wild Bull Elk are returning to Virginia from the brink of extinction

Cheryl E Preston
Wild Bull Elk in Buchannan COuntyPhoto byDWR Virginiavideo screenshot

The Wild Bull Elk once roamed the hillsides in Virginia

Deer, Elk, Moose, Antelope', and Reindeer all come from the Cervidae family so the next time you hear the song Home on the Range consider that there was more than one type of this breed playing along with the buffalo. " Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play". Although they are from the same family the Wild Bull Elk is much larger than deer and now has been brought back to Virginia from the brink of extinction.

Wild Bukk Elk was once a thriving breed all over the Commonwealth and a respected Native American species. Everything changed when European settlers came to the nation and in 1885 n the last elk was officially recorded. They were wiped out due to overhunting by the settlers and also changes to their natural habitat. Over the years there were many attempts to reintroduce the animals to Virginia but none succeeded. There was a repopulation attempt in Virginia with the help of Yellowstone National Park in the early 1900s but by the early 1970s, all of those animals were gone.
Wild Bull Elk are back in the CommonwealthPhoto byDWR Virginia video screnshot

Attempts to repopulate Wild Elk have been successful

Another unsuccessful attempt was made In 2000 and finally, in 2012 the Virginia Division of Wildlife Reserve (DWR) reintroduced Wild Elk back into the state. At this time six hunters won a lottery where they had the chance to capture one of the beasts and all six were successful. There were 75 Bull Elk released into the wild in an effort to repopulate the state and today the efforts have proved successful. There are now more than 250 Wild Elk in Buchannan County.

The reason the effort worked this time as opposed to past attempts is that special attention was paid to the habitat Wild Elk would reside in. They have been given an "ample food source" and now the animals have spread out to the counties of Wise, Buchanan, and Dickenson Virginia.“

Some of the habitat work has consisted of removing invasive species like autumn olive and replacing that with native warm-season grasses that the elk naturally graze on and prefer,” said Breaks Interstate Park Superintendent Austin Bradley.

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I write, about breaking news, and current events. I wrote a newspaper column from 1997 to 2007 and have written for various online platforms since 2012 including Yahoo Contributor Network, Hubpages, and Vocal Media.

Roanoke, VA

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