JEFFERSON CITY Mo — All 34 animals intended as the nucleus of an elk herd in Missouri have passed the final round of health testing and are ready to board a trailer for the trip to Peck Ranch Conservation Area.
Missouri’s elk originally were scheduled to arrive April 30. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) delayed the event to permit completion of veterinary-health testing.
“Protecting the health of Missouri’s existing wildlife and the state’s livestock industry has always been a high priority of the elk-restoration program,” said MDC Director Bob Ziehmer. “We are extremely pleased to know that the elk we trapped in Kentucky in January have met all the requirements of stringent health protocols developed in consultation with the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Now we can work on getting them here.”
Dr. Aaron Hecht, a veterinarian with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, conducted health testing on Missouri’s elk with a veterinarian from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Hecht said the elk have fulfilled requirements under the health protocols developed by MDC in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Agriculture. He said he is very pleased with the overall health of the Missouri-bound elk.
“We have communicated from the beginning that we would bring elk to Missouri only if they were healthy,” said Ziehmer. “The recent delay has been disappointing to those who are eager to return elk to Missouri, but it was absolutely necessary for us to follow the testing protocol.”