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Farm Bureau opposes reintroducing elk to Mo.

Mo. Dept. of Conservation

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Farm Bureau is speaking out against a plan by the Department of Conservation to reintroduce elk to the state.

Missouri's elk population is believed to have vanished nearly 150 years ago.

The Farm Bureau's Laura Holloway says if reintroduced, the large cousins to deer would damage crops, threaten livestock with disease, and be even more hazardous to motorists.

"We have talked with counterparts in other states where there are elk, and we are aware of landowners who have had problems in all those areas," Holloway said.

But Mike Huffman with the Department of Conservation says elk would only be introduced to one rural area in southeastern Missouri.

"The zone that we've identified has very low volume of traffic overall, thereby minimizing the opportunity for elk-vehicle collisions," Huffman said.

The vast majority of the proposed elk zone is made up of public land, but Huffman says they also have contingency plans if any elk make their way onto private land. He adds that each elk will have a microchip, enabling Conservation officials to track them.

A final decision on the proposal is expected in October.


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