The elk exhibit opened to the public in April 2007 and originally housed three elk. In 2014, the Parks Department purchased the elk herd from Glacier Ridge Animal Farm in Van Dyne, WI. Currently there are 5 elk in the exhibit, 4 females and an adult male. Papa is the father of three of the female elk, Lily, Georgia, and Stella. Stella and Lily are Mama’s daughters, and Georgia is the daughter of Lily. Papa was neutered in 2014 to prevent any more inbreeding.
Stella is our youngest elk, and she was born in the summer of 2014.
Georgia was born on June 14, 2014. Lily was a first time mother and rejected her calf, so Georgia was hand-raised by zoo staff for the first two months of her life. Georgia returned to the herd in the fall, but still came to staff for her bottle and health checks. She is now a full member of the herd.
About Elk in Wisconsin
Historically elk ranged throughout Wisconsin but were extinct in the state by the late 1880s because of overhunting and habitat loss when settlers converted forest to farmland. Currently, suitable elk habitat is located in the northern and central forest regions of the state. As early as 1930, the state made efforts to reintroduce elk to the state, primarily because its citizens wanted a viable population for sport hunting. Recovery efforts to bring a sustainable elk population back to Wisconsin have been underway since 1995 when the Clam Lake herd was established. In 2016, another herd of elk were introduced to Jackson County near Black River Falls. A hunting season will be considered once the Clam Lake herd exceeds 200 animals.
To learn more about Elk in Wisconsin, visit the DNR Elk Fact Sheet
Did You Know?
An elk's bugling can be heard for miles, but elk can also communicate and signal to each other using their feet!