UPDATE: West Virginia officials use technology to track new elk herd

By  | 

UPDATE 12/25/16 @ 4:35 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP/WSAZ) -- Biologists have put tracking collars on each of the 24 elk recently released in West Virginia.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the collars can be tracked by satellites using global positioning system transmitters while workers on the ground use radio transmitters to follow the elk's progress.

The elk were relocated to West Virginia from Kentucky recently, the first time elk have roamed in West Virginia in 141 years. State officials are concerned some of the small herd might be killed by cars if they wander too far from the mountain tops.

Randy Kelley, the elk project leader for the state Department of Natural Resources, said the collars can be programmed to drop off the animals automatically. They can be reused later as the elk herd grows.

The process to reintroduce elk into the Mountain State has been five to 10 years in the making.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and officials from the state Division of Natural Resources introduced the 24 healthy elk in the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area in Logan.

UPDATE 12/19/16 @ 6 p.m.
LOGAN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Hundreds of West Virginians traveled to Logan County Monday for the reintroduction of elk into the Mountain State.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and officials from the state Division of Natural Resources introduced 24 healthy elk in the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area.

The elk were brought to Logan from western Kentucky.

"I didn't think I'd ever see any elk in West Virginia at all," Judith Minor-Roberts said.

The process to reintroduce elk into the Mountain State has been five to 10 years in the making.

The elk are expected to acclimate for a few days before the gates are removed and they are released to roam free in the abandoned coal fields.

"I think that's the exciting thing," Tomblin said. "As you can see here, with thousands of acres that's been restored, to have the elk population here for people to come and enjoy and possibly one day hunt -- one day down the road, but I think it's putting the land to good use."

DNR officials say it will be five to 10 years before hunting is possible. They will evaluate how the population is growing and then allow restricted hunting.

State officials also expect to see a tourism boost from the elk.

Monday's release was the first in a series of planned herd releases in seven southern West Virginia counties.



ORIGINAL STORY 12/19/16 @ 10 a.m.
LOGAN, W.Va. (AP) -- Officials are trumpeting the return of an elk herd to West Virginia for the first time since 1875.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and officials from the state Division of Natural Resources are set to introduce the elk on Monday in Logan County.

DNR biologists trapped two dozen elk at the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in Kentucky in November.

After the elk were quarantined to determine whether they were disease-free, they were transported to the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area in Logan County.

The hope is to eventually open up the area to hunting.



 
Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus