Missouri Elk
6:14 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Elk herd "doing well" after first year in Missouri

Missouri’s elk population appears to be settling into their new home state, according to state conservation officials.

Dr. Joseph Millspaugh of the University of Missouri -- Columbia updated the Missouri Conservation Commission today on the state’s elk herd, which he says seems to be doing well.

“(We have) evidence of survival rates (and) reproductive rates that are average to high," Millspaugh said.  "We see diet quality certainly within the range of what we would expect.”

Thirty-four elk were imported from Kentucky in May of last year.  The herd lives within a small preserve in rural southeastern Missouri, and each animal has a radio collar so it can be tracked.  Millspaugh indicates they don’t appear to be suffering any undue stress.

“The stress response:  nothing there that is indicative of a problem," Millspaugh told the commission.  "If we saw those very high values for extended periods, we might be concerned, but (there was) definitely not, in no way, (any) potential problem."

The reintroduction program has faced criticism from farm interests, who’ve expressed concerns about potential crop damage and auto accidents -- and a state audit last year was critical of the amount of money spent on the program.