It's been more than a century since wild elk roamed free in the state of West Virginia, but they'll be returning again within three to four months.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources received the signed documentation from the U.S. Forest Service to procure up to 20 elk from the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in Kentucky. Those will become the first in West Virginia's Elk Reintroduction plan.

"They've had those elk for quite a while," said Chris Ryan, Biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. "Originally they came from Elk Island National Park in Canada and they've been down there for a while. They've been used to stock elk in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina and the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee. They've been used as a 'seed source' for a couple of different areas."

"Our elk plan calls for two stockings of 75," Ryan said. "Whether we get exactly 75 may or may not be, but we definitely anticipate stocking more in the future."

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