Tennessee Elk Program
In December of 2000, 50 elk from Elk Island National Park were released into the rugged and beautiful Cumberland mountains of east Tennessee. That day marked the historic return of an animal that had been missing from the Tennessee landscape for almost 150 years. Since then, the TWRA has been monitoring the herd, anxious to see how well the new animals have adapted.
Each year TWRA personnel and countless volunteers collect information on the elk to determine herd growth. The past three years have shown promising signs that the herd is growing as had been hoped. It is estimated that close to 400 animals now roam free throughout the elk restoration zone.
The agency is working diligently with the USDA to secure additional animals to help supplement the herd and increase the rate of growth. At this time it is not known if the agency will be able to release additional elk into the North Cumberland WMA.
With or without these animals, the elk in Tennessee are here to stay!