JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will soon add 35 wild elk to the Show-Me State’s recently restored herd at Peck Ranch Conservation Area. Peck Ranch is part of a 221,000-acre elk-restoration zone that covers parts of Shannon, Carter and Reynolds counties.
The elk are scheduled to arrive at the refuge area of Peck Ranch on May 18 from a capture site in eastern Kentucky. The elk are making the 400-mile overnight journey in a livestock tractor trailer. They will join 31 adult elk transplanted from Kentucky in 2011 and five calves born at Peck Ranch last spring.
MDC is again working with the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the U.S., Kentucky and Virginia departments of agriculture, along with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Services (KDFWS) and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) to ensure the health of all captured elk.
Missouri-bound elk will also be fitted with radio collars in Kentucky to help monitor their movements in and around the restoration zone.
Virginia is beginning elk restoration and joined MDC and KDFWS in capturing this year’s elk. The 54 elk captured this year will be divided between Missouri and Virginia.
Peck Ranch CA covers 36 square miles in the Ozarks and has been MDC’s site for the restoration of various native plants and animals since the early 1940s.
MDC has temporarily closed the 12,000-acre refuge area at Peck Ranch to public access until mid-summer to minimize disturbances to elk arriving from Kentucky and to resident elk that are calving. Public and media access to the release location and activities will also be prohibited in an effort to minimize stress on arriving wild elk.