Elk reintroduction proving successful in southwest Virginia

The population is said to have grown from 75 to 300 in the past few years

BUCHANAN COUNTY, Va. – Elk were reintroduced to southwest Virginia in a three-year release from 2012 to 2014, and the effort seems to be working. Not only is the elk herd growing but so is outdoor tourism.

The recorded number of elk since the release has grown from 75 to an estimated 300. People are coming from all over to see the elk and to take part in outdoor adventures. Just this past weekend, more than 200 people took tours in the area.

“There are people who will come from Pennsylvania, from Georgia, from North Carolina to come here for a chance to see the elk," said Kristi Rose of Southern Gap Outdoor Adventures. “I think this will be the key to Buchanan County’s success is this outdoor tourism.”

The herds are protected in the wildlife management zone of Buchanan, Dickenson and Wise counties.

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