Michael B. Wolfel
Dr. Lauren Yaich
Concepts of Biology
25 Mar. 2013
Reintroduction of Elk in Pennsylvania
Elk, also known as Wapitis by the natives once roamed the forest and country sides of Pennsylvania all the way to Georgia. Due to the expansion of society, disease, and constant hunting elk were eventually exterminated from the area. By 1850 most of the elk that remained in Pennsylvania took sanctuary in Cameron, Elk and McKean counties. A mere few remained in Elk and Cameron counties by the mid 1860’s. A decade later there would be no more elk in the area. In 1895 the Game Commission was formed and played a large role in the restoration and fortification of endangered animals. In 1912 talk began of reintroducing elk into Pennsylvania along with deer, turkey, and quail which were already being purchased by the game commission and released into the wild. Thanks to the rapidly growing amount of elk herds in Yellowstone National Park, due to their refusal to allow people to hunt the animals the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Biological Survey and Department of Forestry decided to relocate some of the elk. The first shipment of fifty elk arrived by train in 1913, and later that same year an extra twenty two were purchased and sent to different counties throughout Pennsylvania. That same year a law was passed protecting elk from being hunted for the next eight years to guarantee their survival and continued growth. Only two years later the game commission bought ninety five more elk and dispersed them throughout the state. Although poaching still occurred on occasions Pennsylvania’s elk population slowly began to rise once again (Kosack). Many people felt that the reintroduction of elk was a good start to reviving their species in the area, farmers on the other hand weren’t to enthusiastic about it. Elk are a big animal and proved to be very destructive to agricultural areas. Aggression lessened in 1923...
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