A total of 40 additional elk have arrived at Peck Ranch in southeastern Missouri, including a male calf born en route from Kentucky.
This marks the third year of Missouri's elk restoration project. Close to 70 elk are already living in parts of Carter, Shannon and Reynolds counties, bringing the total with the new arrivals to over 100. The Missouri Department of Conservation expects several dozen new calves to be born this spring.
The new elk underwent comprehensive health testing in Kentucky prior to their departure. All of them - including the surprise newborn - have checked out disease free. They were also fitted with radio collars to allow MDC and the University of Missouri to track their movements and preferred habitat.
The group will remain in holding pens at Peck Ranch for several weeks to get used to their new surroundings. The area will reopen to the public later in July.
Follow Véronique LaCapra on Twitter: @KWMUScience