Elk Could Return to Missouri's Wildlife
SEDALIA - More than 140 years ago, Elk were a native species in Missouri and have since disappeared. Now, with the nearly non-existent population, officials with the Missouri Department of Conservation have proposed reintroducing the animals into Missouri's wildlife. The Conservation Commission will vote on the proposition in October.
An official with the Missouri Department of Conservation said restoring the elk population will help improve the state economy and bring more tourists to Missouri. "A lot of interest in seeing elk by the public and not just within the state, but you get people from out-of-state in other areas that just like to go and watch elk," resource scientist Lonnie Hansen said.
While the elk may seem friendly to people, some elk farmers say the animals will roam outside of their set boundaries and that could create problems for motorists and people nearby. "They're a big animal and we have a lot of trouble with cars hitting deer and causing damage," Poortville elk farmer Dorothy Poort said.
The Missouri Department of Conservation plans to monitor the elk if they are brought into the state countryside. According to the department's Web site, "All elk would be fitted with microchips and radio collars to help monitor their health, movements and location."
Scientists with the Conservation would be able to track target areas in the elk population and determine the weak areas and any problems associated with the new elk.