PHOENIX, Az. — West Virginia’s elk herd is expected to grow again in the coming months, this time with animals from the state of Arizona.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission on Saturday approved a measure to allow up to 60 elk from their state to be sent to West Virginia as part of the effort to reestablish an elk herd in the southern coalfield region.
The story, first reported by the Charleston Gazette-Mail, indicated the transfer of the animals could happen in the next two to four years.
“Additional translocations in the next 2-4 years may be considered pending the success of this translocation and the status of our elk populations here [in Arizona],” Munig told the Gazette-Mail on Monday. “We are not starting the logistical planning for the translocation, so we do not have more details yet.”
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has not yet commented on the action by the Arizona Commission. It’s anticipated the elk would be transferred to the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area in Logan County where about two dozen elk were released in December.
The West Virginia Elk Restoration Plan called for the reintroduction on at least two southern West Virginia sites. Earlier this year on West Virginia Outdoors, DNR Elk Project Leader Randy Kelly indicated the next several releases would occur at the Tomblin WMA since the release facilities are already in place.
Last year, the Division of Natural Resources trapped and transferred 24 elk from the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in Kentucky and hauled them to West Virginia. Three of those animals died after the transfer, but two elk calves were born during the summer.
The published report indicated the plan would involve the elk being transported to West Virginia during January, February, or March by a professional livestock hauling company, possibly as early as 2018.