COLUMBIA — A $35,000 grant from the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation will give the Missouri Department of Conservation’s elk restoration fund a boost.
The grant will help pay for elk trapping, holding, disease testing, research, monitoring and transportation. The money will add to the department’s growing restoration fund, which includes a $300,000 pledge from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and $50,000 from the Appalachian Wildlife Foundation.
Conservation staff will use the funds to pay for a three-year plan to bring 150 elk to a 346-square-mile restoration zone in Carter, Shannon and Reynolds counties in south-central Missouri.
The Conservation Heritage Foundation is a nonprofit organization that helps fund efforts to improve Missouri’s forest, fish and wildlife resources. In a news release, board chairman Chris Nattinger said group members are pleased to help the elk project.
“This magnificent animal is part of our natural heritage, and we think that the public as well as the ecosystem will benefit by bringing elk back to Missouri,” Nattinger said.
The Conservation Department has 38 elk trapped in eastern Kentucky and is conducting myriad disease tests on them during a 90-day waiting period, after which it will bring the elk to Missouri.