LOGAN, W.Va. — Although much fanfare was made about the first elk calf born in West Virginia during the month of June, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources officials confirm a second calf was born around the same time.
The confirmation of the first calf was welcomed with statewide news coverage as the image of the young elk behind its mother was captured on a trail camera.
“We have two calves on the ground actually,” said the state’s Elk Project Leader Randy Kelly. “We got another picture later that same night of two calves together.”
But Kelly believed that is probably the end of the 2017 calving season for the state’s elk herd. There were two other females in the group rounded up at Land Between the Lakes last year and transported to West Virginia which may have been bred, but Kelly said indications are they are not going to produce an offspring this year.
“We had two more that had tested positive in the pregnancy test at LBL,” he said. “But I’ve seen those cows several times over the last month to month and a half, and just by looks and body shape, I really don’t think they were pregnant or if they were pregnant the stress of them being moved that early in the pregnancy created problems. If I was betting, I would bet this is going to probably be our reproduction for this year.”
But Kelly was satisfied with two calves out of the small reintroduction herd from last winter. The future will be built on other animals brought to the state in years to come.
“We know bringing in those few we brought in is not going to build a herd completely,” he said. “We’re hopefully going to bring some more adults in. I’m not relying on those ten cows to start the whole population.”
Kelly and other DNR personnel are actively engaged in talks with other states with elk to arrange for future deliveries of animals. He couldn’t specify which states were being considered, but said they were western states. The neighboring state of Kentucky is willing to work with West Virginia, but for now has committed its surplus elk to a previous arrangement with the state of Wisconsin.