Newspapers, TV cover elk relocation

King 5 news ran a story on Friday about the relocation of six elk from Whatcom County to Snohomish County.
Watch the video here.

Over the weekend, The Bellingham Herald and the Skagit Valley Herald (subscription required) ran stories about it as well.

The Bellingham Herald:

Six elk pressed themselves into a tight huddle, stamping and shuffling in the muddy pen as they tried to keep away from the men with the crackling blue tarps.

Friday marked the second time in two years wildlife officials have trapped, collared and moved elk out of the Acme area of the South Fork Valley, where as many as 85 elk have been trampling fences and munching farmers’ crops. The animals Friday were taken to a mountain area near Darrington, off Highway 20.

Skagit Valley Herald:

About 40 elk grazed in a farmer’s field Friday morning near Acme in Whatcom County, and by noon six of them were in a trailer headed south to a new home. Lured by apples, the elk were trapped, outfitted with radio transmitter collars and relocated to the Sauk Prairie area west of Darrington to augment the elk population there.

“The whole purpose is to minimize damages to these areas without actually killing (the elk),” said Scott Schuyler, a policy representative for the Upper Skagit Tribe.

Elk are notorious for wrecking fences and eating silage crops, he said.

Schuyler explained that the tribe, collaborating with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, wanted to get the resident herd near Acme, where the animals were trapped, down to about 30.

“The whole idea behind this is prevention, because we end up paying a whole lot in damage claims,” said Russ Mullins of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The elk are part of the Nooksack elk herd, which numbers about 500.

Many tribes and the Fish and Wildlife Department work together on planning and implementing the relocation program.

The Upper Skagit Tribe led the actual trapping, which took several months of monitoring and four bins of apples before it finally came to fruition Friday.

When the six elk finally settled in the corral, the trap was triggered and tarps dropped. Then several men herded the elk into a chute, taking care not to get charged by the agitated animals.

Once each elk was successfully in the chute, the team fastened collars around their necks so that wildlife managers can monitor them. Then the elk were herded into a trailer that released them near a lake in a rural area west of Darrington.