During May and June, more than 250 volunteers joined Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists to search the forests near Wisconsin's Clam Lake for elk calves.
The spring elk survey revealed that the year has started out exceptionally well for Wisconsin’s growing elk herd. Forty-five potentially pregnant cows were monitored this spring. From them, 35 to 37 new calves were expected to join the herd this spring.
A total of 23 elk calves were captured by volunteers and fitted with tracking collars that will provide future information about their survival. At least five additional calves have since been seen and not captured.
2013 is first time that more females were observed born than males, according to DNR staff.
As of mid-July, no newborn calves had been lost to predation. Black bears are the most likely predator during their first six weeks of life.
Within a week or two after giving birth, cows group together with other cows to provide added protection to newborn calves against predators.
More good news for Wisconsin’s elk herd came recently with the signing of the state budget where authority was given to DNR to bring in additional wild elk to boost the Clam Lake herd and start a second wild herd in the Black River Falls area of Jackson County.
Both plans have seen significant public support and financial backing from partners outside of the DNR. As a result, more elk may be arriving from a donor state starting in 2015.
For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov
source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources