What’s next for elk in the Smokies 20 years after experimental release – Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee

Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee 2021-11-26 08:56:53 –

Knoxville, Tennessee (WATE) —Twenty years after Elk was first reintegrated into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, conservation efforts in North Carolina and Tennessee continue to this day.

Did the elk grow naturally in the Appalachian Mountains?

As many as 10 million elks roamed North America before European settlers arrived on the continent. Explorations have led to unsustainable hunting practices, new illnesses, and competition from livestock for food resources. It is believed that the last Elk in North Carolina was killed in the late 18th century and the last Elk in Tennessee was killed in the early 19th century.

How did the reintroduction of Elk to the Smokeys begin?

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation approached the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the 1990s on the possibility of returning elks to the park. After environmental analysis, disease risk assessment, and public comments, the park launched a five-year experimental release to see if full reintroduction is possible.

In 2001, 25 elks from Landbitwien The Lakes, Kentucky, were released in the Catalouchy Valley area of ​​a park in North Carolina. The following year, another 27 elks were released from Elk Island National Park in Alberta, Canada. More elks were scheduled to be released in 2003, but experimental releases were withheld due to concerns about the introduction of chronic wasting disease in North Carolina.

The experimental phase has been extended to 2008. After that period, the experiment was considered successful and the park moved to a complete reintroduction effort.

Who is involved in the reintroduction effort?

The main groups involved are the National Park Service, the University of Tennessee, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

How many elks are there in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

A rough estimate is that the area around Cataluchy Valley in Okonalhuthe Valley and Cherokee, North Carolina has a total population of about 200. Graduate students at the University of Tennessee are working with partners to conduct regional census using fecal DNA analysis in areas where Elk frequently visits to better measure the total population. The results of the study are expected in 2023.

How about a predator?

The black bear threatened some elk calves early in the reintroduction. At some point, national parks easily captured bears and released them far away from the frequent visits of Elk. The cow elk soon learned how to better protect himself and his calves from predators.

What’s next to the seeds?

Conservationists say Create wildlife overpasses and underpasses to allow elks and other wildlife to pass safely on interstate and other roads. Not only does it reduce vehicle collisions, it can also significantly boost conservation activities.

Approximately 26,000 vehicles drive a 28-mile I-40 through the Pigeon River Valley on the Tennessee-North Carolina border.North Carolina Transport Bureau Recently announced construction preparations At I-40 above Harmonden Road, integrate wildlife intersections into the new structure. The bridge is the first of five sets to be replaced by NC DOT.

How can I safely see Elk in Smokeys?

Several elks have been witnessed in Tennessee, but the best places to see them are the Catalochy Valley and Okonalhuthe Valley near Cherokee, North Carolina. The best time to see elks is during the “rutting season” from mid-September to mid-October, when swarms gather and male elks compete for female companions to become more active and aggressive. increase.

It is illegal in the park to approach within 50 yards, or within a distance that interferes with or moves Elk, and may be punished by fines or arrests. Watch this video produced by GSMNP on how to watch elks safely while promoting herd well-being.

How can I find out more about the Elks in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park Website Learn about elk biology. GSMNP biologist Joe Yarkovich recently held a useful seminar on the reintroduction of elk. Discover American life you can find on Youtube. For other useful online resources, For a detailed article on the reintroduction of Elk, A recent issue of Smoky’s Life magazine.

What’s next for elk in the Smokies 20 years after experimental release Source link What’s next for elk in the Smokies 20 years after experimental release

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