In Episode 30 of District of Conservation, Gabriella recounts her experience in Virginia’s Elk Country and why this is a conservation success. She also talked about her upcoming talk at Ohio State University tomorrow on how “Hunting is Conservation” alongside Bruce Tague of Sportsmen’s Alliance and Dr. Robert Gates from Ohio State University’s School of Environment and Natural Resources.
There are about 200 elk in SWVA right in the heart of Coal Country.
Elk used to roam much of the East Coast until the late 1880’s, when the Eastern elk sub-species were over-hunted and poached to extinction. It was hunters, interestingly enough, who realized they must be responsible for and protect them, which is why the North American Model of Conservation was established. True conservation groups like Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation were started to bring imperiled wildlife back to the forefront. Today, elk can be found all over the East Coast and may soon be found in states like Illinois and New York. Their return is welcome as they play an integral role in the ecosystem.
Elk reintroduction efforts began in 2012. Seven years later, the herd is ever-growing and 50 new calves are expected to be born this month.
For now, hunting the herd should be put on hold until it reaches manageable numbers for sustainable culling. A few elk have sadly been poached by terrible people since the introduction but all stakeholders are vested in and determined to protect them and see them flourish.
That is the truth about hunters and conservation.
Info for Attending the OSU Panel Discussion: