Wisconsin’s Elk Population Flourishes, Exceeds 500 Thanks to Successful Reintroduction Program


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Madison, WI – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) celebrates a significant milestone in wildlife conservation with the continued success of its elk reintroduction program.

Elk, once eradicated from Wisconsin in the 1880s due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss, are thriving once again thanks to concerted efforts that began in 1995 with the release of 25 elk into the Clam Lake area.

In collaboration with Kentucky and other stakeholders, the DNR expanded the program in 2015, introducing an additional 150 elk to enhance the Clam Lake herd and to establish a new herd in the Black River Falls area. These herds have shown promising growth, with current numbers indicating the state’s elk population may exceed 500 by the end of this calving season.

The resurgence of elk in Wisconsin not only enhances biodiversity but also provides unique opportunities for wildlife viewing and hunting, which supports local economies. Additionally, the DNR emphasizes that much of the funding for elk conservation is sourced from hunting application fees, highlighting a sustainable model of wildlife management that benefits both the species and the community.


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