UPDATED: Elk cleared for shipment to MO
This just in via phone from Jim Low, news writer with the Missouri Department of Conservation. The 34 elk, whose inconclusive health tests prevented their shipment from Kentucky to Missouri on Saturday, have been retested and cleared for transport.
“We have communicated from the beginning that we would bring elk to Missouri only if they were healthy,” said Ziehmer. “The recent delay has been disappointing to those who are eager to return elk to Missouri, but it was absolutely necessary for us to follow the testing protocol.”
Dr. Aaron Hecht, a veterinarian with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, conducted the testing. Hecht said the elk have fulfilled requirements under the health protocols developed by MDC in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Agriculture. He said he is very pleased with the overall health of the Missouri-bound elk.
When the transfer will take place is undetermined due to rampant rain and flooding in southeast Missouri, Low said. Not only is there concern that U.S. 60 will be underwater, there are low water bridges on the way in to Peck Ranch near Winona that must be negotiated. The road to the pen area is gravel, and has been hardened and tested to stand up under a livestock semi-trailer under reasonable conditions.
Whether community events with video viewing of the elk transfer will take place is also in question. The transfer had been scheduled for a weekend and may now happen during the week.
Whenever the elk do get here, the MDC plans to video the unloading, burn dvds and distribute them to any community viewing sites and upload the video to its own website, at http://mdc.mo.gov/. Just type elk in the search box at the top of the page to get the video and other elk restoration information.