Updated May 6: The elk have arrived! The Department of Conservation reports that the trailer carrying the herd from Kentucky arrived at Peck Ranch at 6:30 a.m. yesterday.
For the next two weeks, the elk will be confined to pens on the ranch so they can get accustomed to their new habitat. At the end of this period, conservation workers will open the pens in the middle of the night so the elk can wander freely.
The delivery of the elk was an emotional occasion for many members of the transport team.
"When I saw those animals come off the trailer it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up," said RMEF Missouri State Chairman Dave Pace. "Seeing these animals come back, so generations and generations of Missourians will get to see them, is a very momentous occasion. This is a great day for wildlife, it's a great day for conservation and it's a great day for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and all our volunteers. This is what we work for."
Original post after the jump:
Even elk have sick days. The Missouri Department of Conservation announced Friday afternoon that the herd of elk that was supposed to arrive at Peck Ranch in the southeast portion of the state Saturday was delayed due to one of the elk failing its health test.
Over the weekend, the sick elk started feeling better, at least enough to pass the health test. (Maybe it was one of those phantom illnesses that arise whenever a human is facing something unpleasant at school or work?)
"The health component is good to go," says Joe Jerek, a spokesman for the department. "Now we're just waiting for the weather to cooperate. The weather has limited the access to Peck Ranch."
Jerek says the department will know more later this afternoon. Naturally, Daily RFT will keep you posted.