MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wolves have been thinning a herd of elk that was introduced in west-central Wisconsin last year, the state Department of Natural Resources said.
The herd in Jackson County was cut to 17 animals after wolves killed three elk in January, the agency said. The herd currently has seven bulls, seven cows and three calves, DNR wildlife director Tom Hauge told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1RSExG2 ).
In August, 23 elk were released from a holding pen in Black River State Forest. One elk was killed by wolves in September, and two others died in vehicle collisions.
Hauge said the wolf predation was attributed to one wolf pack.
Except for a couple of calves, all of the Jackson County elk are fitted with GPS collars to allow biologists to track their movements. All of the elk are currently in the county’s established elk range, Hauge said.
The DNR moved elk from Kentucky to Jackson County last spring in hopes of establishing a second herd in the state. Wisconsin has had only one elk herd, which roams the northern woods in Ashland County.
Currently, state employees are in Kentucky trapping elk for a planned transfer to Jackson County this year. An agreement between Kentucky and Wisconsin allows up to 50 elk to be transferred each year and a total of 150 over five years.