Missouri is going through this process now with its elk herd. Elk were removed from the landscape in Missouri at about the same time as Michigan. It has taken the state much longer to get around to bringing them back.
Michigan began the process of reintroducing elk to the state in 1918 when seven animals were placed in the Wolverine area. By 1960, those seven had turned into a herd of 1,500. Unfortunately, poaching and habitat loss took a terrible toll on the herd until it was back in the danger zone.
By 1975, the herd had dwindled to 200 animals and their future was seriously a question. An odd savior turned out to be oil exploration in a portion of the elks' range - Pigeon River. The focus on the environmental issue pertaining to the exploration in the late 1970's got folks re-focused on keeping a viable elk herd as a part of the natural environment.
By the mid 1980's, the herd had grown once more to a sustainable number - 800 to 900. That is where it stands today, and Michigan even has allowed for a small number of the herd to be harvested each year. One of the goals is to manage the impact the elk herd has on agriculture and other parts of the environment. The limited hunt helps with these management efforts.
Recently, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in conjunction with local partners
|Volunteers make sure the elk viewing |
station is straight before they
set it permanently.
For more info on viewing Michigan elk, visit www.michigan.gov/elk.