Tags: south carolina | elk | sighting

South Carolina Elk Sighting Is First in Two Centuries

Image: South Carolina Elk Sighting Is First in Two Centuries

An elk was spotted in South Carolina for the first time in more than two centuries. (Paul Schneider/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 27 Oct 2016 06:08 AM

South Carolina had its first elk sighting in more than two centuries when the state's Department of Natural Resources confirmed an elk's presence on four different occasions since last Friday at Camp McCall in Pickens County.

The bull elk is estimated to be about 700 pounds and about 2 1/2 years old, officials told WYFF-TV. Elk had disappeared from the southern Appalachian Mountains in the late 1700s because of over hunting and loss of their habitat, a biologist told the station.

The animals were near extinction throughout North America by the 1900s, but about 150 elk were reintroduced into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, which straddles the North Carolina and Tennessee border, in 2001.

While the elk has generated some excitement in South Carolina, Justin McVey, a wildlife biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, said in a statement that approaching the 700-pound animal is not a good idea.

"People get a false sense of security, because elk don't mind being approached," McVey said on the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website. "But they are still wild animals and can be very dangerous. All it would take is for that elk to swing its antlers, and it could really hurt somebody."

Tammy Wactor, a wildlife biologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, said in a statement that the young bull elk was likely pushed out of its territory in Heywood County, North Carolina, by bigger bulls.

Legislators had been anticipating that elk would begin to come over from North Carolina by passing legislation five years ago protecting the animals from being harmed, Wactor said.

Carl Walsh, president of the South Carolina chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, recently took photos of the elk on private property in the Rocky Bottom area, according to the Greenville News.

"If you had settled in South Carolina back in the late 1600s you would have had an abundance of elk," Walsh told the newspaper, theorizing that the bull was looking for a female elk. "But our forefather shot them all out for clothing or food.

"Hopefully next time he'll bring a female with him and we can establish a small herd here in South Carolina," Walsh added.

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South Carolina had its first elk sighting in more than two centuries when the state's Department of Natural Resources confirmed an elk's presence on four different occasions.
south carolina, elk, sighting
371
2016-08-27
Thursday, 27 Oct 2016 06:08 AM
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