Nineteen years after their return, elk are flourishing on their historic range in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation assisted with the effort in 2001 and continues to devote funding to enhance elk habitat.
“We provide some technical support, and we also continue to provide financial support. And, that financial support really comes through the PAC (Project Advisory Committee) which is a program where all the fundraising that the Elk Foundation does, whether it’s our annual fundraisers, donations, membership – a portion of that comes back to the state,” Kim DeLozier, RMEF conservation program manager, told the Cherokee One Feather.
RMEF works with the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and other partners to assist elk.
“We want to continue to put money back into taking care of the herd, doing research or management, or habitat work. The biggest part of the future is going to be habitat. They’re here right now, and so obviously we’ve got to make sure they’ve got a good place to live, something good to eat, and a good environment,” added DeLozier.
(Photo source: Great Smoky Mountains National Park)