Arizona's gift is the echo of one the state received years ago.
Eastern elk herds are on the rebound. The latest state joining the restoration efforts is West Virginia, and they have Arizona to thank. Arizona Game and Fish voted recently to capture and gift 60 elk to West Virginia to kick off the state's re-population project.
Arizona currently has around 45,000 elk. Around 100 years ago, the state kicked of a restoration project of its own. The elk moving to West Virginia are descendants of a herd of Rocky Mountain Elk that originated in Yellowstone National Park.
Game and Fish officials used helicopters and rifles equipped with nets to capture the 60 elk. They then tagged and collared the animals before temporarily placing them in pens. They also gave the elk complete medical physicals to check their overall health.
In all, West Virginia will transplant roughly 250 elk into the region. They'll also be coming in from Kentucky.
The elk are moving to an area cleared out by mountain top strip mining. Covering and seeding the area has produced a nearly ideal habitat for the large animals.
"It's the perfect place to restore elk into West Virginia," said WVDNR Director Stephen McDaniel.
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