The second "load" of elk coming from Kentucky has arrived in Wisconsin and will be released in Jackson County. Everyone is excited!
On Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 39 elk arrived in Wisconsin after a 14-hour journey from Kentucky. Volunteers from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and elsewhere are very excited, and are looking forward to a successful introduction into the northern Wisconsin woods this summer.
The elk will undergo a period of health tests and acclimating to their new surroundings in a seven acre holding pen in the Black River State Forest until their permanent release in Jackson County this summer.
This is the second year of a five-year plan with Kentucky, where Wisconsin will receive elk and Kentucky will receive financial help with habitat projects for elk and other wildlife, with a special emphasis on the ruffed grouse.
At the time of the elk's arrival in the Dairy State, Governor Scott Walker said, "This is an exciting and important step in our continued efforts to integrate elk onto the landscape in and around Jackson County. We anticipate that this project will lead to a thriving elk herd in the area, which will have a positive impact on tourism and the local economy."
There is a small herd of elk that has been existing in the Clam Lake area, and it is expected that these and subsequent shipments of elk from Kentucky will join that herd eventually. 150 elk are ultimately expected to come from Kentucky.
"We are very excited to be adding more elk to the Jackson County herd," DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said. "This is yet another milestone that we could not have reached without the backing of a variety of important partners. We'd like to thank them all for their support."