Officials to begin 3-year study of elk in Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Researchers are launching a three-year study of elk in Kentucky.

The University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources are teaming up on the study, which begins this month and will focus on elk reproduction and survival, WFPL radio reported.

The animals were native to Kentucky before being wiped out before the Civil War by unregulated hunting. They were reintroduced in eastern Kentucky about 20 years ago and the population has grown since then to about 10,000 animals spread over 16 counties.

“We know a lot has changed. When we looked at this information these were elk that were born into the west and brought into the east,” said Gabe Jenkins, deer and elk coordinator with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “Now nearly all of those animals from the west are dead. We have almost a completely new Kentucky bred, Kentucky-born population.”

He said part of the study will focus on how habitat in eastern Kentucky affects the animals.