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Published on: Dec. 28, 2010

many species of wildlife. Lizards, deer and turkey aren’t the only species worthy of mention; their presence is like a waving banner—something is right about this place.

There are more than 46 species of mammals, such as bobcats, grey foxes, grey myotic bats and black bears, waving the same banner at Peck Ranch. Seventy-five species of reptiles and amphibians join the 195 bird species waving that banner. Plant species like the marsh blue violet and the bristly sedge can be found on Peck Ranch. These species would not be here if the habitat was not just so.

Peck Ranch has been, and continues to be, a solid fixture in conservation history. Its resources and suitability for so many “wild things” makes it not only a diverse place, but also one of beauty and importance.

Partnerships Supporting Elk Restoration at Peck Ranch CA

The Conservation Department has commitments from the Appalachian Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) to help with the funding of elk restoration in Missouri.

Conservation Department Director Robert Ziehmer says partnerships between government and citizen conservation groups make it possible to achieve things far beyond their separate means.

The AWF has committed a minimum of $50,000 toward costs associated with the capture, disease testing, transport, radio collaring and initial monitoring of elk in Missouri. According to the RMEF, it has raised an initial $36,500 to begin paying for construction of an elk holding pen in Kentucky and will continue fundraising efforts.

The MDC will also collaborate with the RMEF, AWF and other conservation partners to develop a long-term conservation plan for elk in Missouri.

Missouri’s restoration plan calls for releasing up to 150 elk in a 346-square-mile area spanning parts of Shannon, Carter and Reynolds counties, which includes Peck Ranch CA. MDC selected this limited restoration zone because of extensive public lands, suitable habitat, low road density, minimal agricultural activity and landowner support. The plan includes health protocols, herd management guidelines and habitat management recommendations.

The Department is working with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to trap, quarantine and transport elk from Kentucky herds to Missouri. Construction of corral traps and a holding pen in Kentucky began in December. Trapping of elk is expected to happen in January. Trapped elk will remain in Kentucky for several months to meet health-testing protocols. Once in Missouri, the relocated elk will be kept in a holding pen at Peck Ranch CA to allow them to acclimate to the area.

Land Management

The Department is committed to continuing landscape resource management in the Ozarks for:

  • Natural community restoration and to sustain forest health,
  • Restoration of wildlife habitat for multiple species, and
  • Providing diverse outdoor recreational opportunities for citizens

Key points to remember about elk restoration at Peck Ranch

  • Elk is a native species to Missouri, and restoring native species holds many benefits,
  • Elk in eastern states tend to be non-migratory and utilize available habitat,
  • Limited number of elk will be released,
  • Limited area with quality habitat,
  • Elk will be radio collared and closely monitored,
  • 79 percent of the elk restoration land is open to public access,
  • The Department is committed to addressing elk in unwanted locations outside the restoration zone including harassment techniques, trapping and relocating and/or euthanizing elk,
  • Hunting is proposed to be implemented as soon as possible after the elk become established, and
  • Elk restoration will include health protocols, such as disease testing, to ensure the health of domestic livestock and other wildlife. For more information on Missouri’s elk restoration plan, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/node/10123

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