The Missouri Department of Conservation is currently considering reintroducing a small population of elk into the eastern Ozarks in Shannon, Carter, and Reynolds counties. There is a public comment period that ends October 1st. Extensive woodland/savanna/glade restoration work has been done in this area (benefitting many declining songbirds) and large grazers like elk usually help that process along. Their presence would probably also serve as an incentive to keep such efforts going. Here is a link to the page with information as well as a place for the public to send in comments...
Just my opinion... I did some surveys at Peck Ranch Conservation Area (in the heart of the proposed range) over several days in the summer of 2007 as part of a seasonal job and it was clear the MDC was taking restoration seriously. They were doing lots to open up former glades and woodlands. Given the role elk played in Missouri's landscape I think it would be a definite step in the right direction. There was a less detailed elk restoration plan that was shelved in the early 2000's due to concerns over chronic wasting disease and damage to private property, but it seems this plan addresses those issues pretty thoroughly. Check it out and comment one way or the other if so inclined.
Phil Wire
Bowling Green, Pike Co.
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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
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