The elk brought to Missouri early last month as part of a restoration project have been released from their holding pen.
The Missouri Department of Conservation released the 34 elk along with five newborn calves on Wednesday.
The adult elk and calves have been fitted with GPS radio collars as part of a cooperative research project with the University of Missouri-Columbia. The collars will help researchers track the elk's health, movement patterns and preferred types of vegetation.
For the first time since the Civil War, elk are back on Missouri soil.
The 34 elk spent three months in quarantine in Kentucky before arriving today in southeast Missouri. They'll be housed temporarily at the Peck Ranch Conservation Area, which is part of the elk restoration zone.
The elk's arrival was delayed from April 30 so conservation officials could complete all the necessary health tests.
Corps Explodes Bird Point Levee to Save Cairo, Ill
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has exploded a large section of a Mississippi River levee in a desperate attempt to protect the Illinois town of Cairo from rising floodwaters. The corps says the break will help Cairo by diverting up to 4 feet of water off the river. As ofÂ Monday evening, river levels at Cairo were at historic highs, creating pressure on the flood wall protecting the town.
You can also see photos of the elk and find out more about the reintroduction above. And, for more information aboutÂ the elk restoration efforts prior to their arrival in Missouri, see the video below the story text.
MissouriÂ Senate leaders plan to debate legislation redrawing Missouri's congressional districts and allowing utilities to charge electric customers for some costs of developing a second nuclear power plant in the state. Both bills are likely to generate significant discussion.