The Northwestern Ontario Elk Restoration Committee is hoping for an early Christmas present this year with the release of 50 more elk here from Elk Island National Park in Alberta.
NOERC co-chair Mike Solomon is hopeful the call will come in soon with word the elk are ready for transportation to the area around Cameron Lake between Nestor Falls and Sioux Narrows.
“We have no idea when we are going to be called,” he admitted. “They have a list of priorities for people receiving elk. I believe that one is in Saskatchewan and then there are two other releases ahead of us.
“We are just waiting for the phone call to come in that our elk are ready to be picked up.”
Since their first release at the beginning of this year, the elk have been spotted wandering throughout the area, including some as far away as Williams, Mn.
“We have had some really good observations of them on the Cedar Narrows Road and around the Rainy River District,” Solomon noted.
“Some of them have been spotted around local farms but the greatest concentration of them are still within 10 km of their pen site at Cameron Lake,” he added.
And with as many as six new calves born this year, the NOERC is hopeful the new elk will flourish just as well as the original herd has done over the past 11 months.
Still, while the elk restoration project has been a success overall, there have been some negative aspects.
“We had four or five elk die this year and now we have lost two more,” said Solomon. “We recently received word that two elk were shot and killed by hunters near Williams.
“Though we are very upset about this, we are taking the position that this happened in another country and that they will deal with it under their own laws,” he remarked.
Nonetheless, Solomon is looking forward to bringing in a new group of elk soon.
“Everything has been going really well,” he said. “Though we were initially hoping to get 100 elk, we are quite satisfied with 50.
“We are very pleased with the success of the program and we are anxious for the new release.”