- Associated Press - Saturday, October 1, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - State wildlife officials say elk will return to West Virginia for the first time since 1875.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports (http://bit.ly/2dEE2Ta ) West Virginia wildlife officials have reached an agreement with officials at Kentucky’s Land Between the Lakes Elk and Bison Prairie to bring as many as 27 elk to West Virginia by mid-December.

Elk were once common in West Virginia, but market hunting and habitat loss caused their numbers to decline. The state’s last elk was killed in Webster County in 1875.

Officials had hoped elk in Kentucky would naturally migrate to West Virginia, but that never happened. West Virginia officials say their goal is to have an elk population large enough to allow hunting. The current plan is to have 150 elk by 2019 at two sites.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.

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