Elk from Kentucky have reached their new home near Black River Falls, Wis. in the first year of elk reintroduction efforts in partnership with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife and a number of other key partners.
In all, 26 elk were transported to Jackson County after completing a 45-day quarantine period in Kentucky as part of a five-year agreement between Wisconsin and Kentucky that will provide Wisconsin with up to 150 wild elk. In 2015, all elk will be released in Jackson County, while future years will see animals released in both Jackson County and Clam Lake.
Special precautions are being taken to help make sure elk received from Kentucky become accustomed to their new home in Jackson County. A seven acre acclimation pen has been built within the Black River State Forest near Black River Falls, Wis., and all elk brought to Jackson County from Kentucky will be held in the pen for a minimum of 75 days to satisfy health testing requirements and allow the elk to become familiar with their new surroundings.
In addition to the closed area surrounding the acclimation pen, individuals are asked to voluntarily avoid the general vicinity of closed area until the elk are released in early summer. Minimizing human disturbance near the release site will allow the elk to adjust to their new home and will help maximize the success of reintroduction efforts.
Funding for Wisconsin’s elk translocation efforts is a result of key partnerships and support from the Ho-Chunk Nation, Jackson County Wildlife Fund, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and many others. The department has committed to using only funds received from partner groups.