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WVDNR preparing three-acre holding pen for elk

Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Tom Hindman West Virginia Division of Natural Resources elk project leader Randall Kelley looks over a former valley fill deck that has been seeded with a grazing blend for elk.
Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Tom Hindman
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources elk project leader Randall Kelley looks over a former valley fill deck that has been seeded with a grazing blend for elk.

HOLDEN, W.Va. — When West Virginia acquires its first batch of wild elk for re-establishing its own herd in the state’s Southern coalfields, the Division of Natural Resources will be ready to prepare them for release.

On Tuesday, a DNR crew began laying out the site of a three-acre elk holding pen on a reclaimed valley fill deck in the new, 4,300-acre Tomblin Wildlife Management Area, a part of what officials hope will become a 30,000-acre expanse of open reclaimed surface mines and timbered valleys extending into seven Southern counties.

“We’re planning for a soft release once we get our elk,” said Randy Kelley, the DNR’s elk restoration project leader. “They’ll be kept in our pen for anywhere from five days to up to two weeks, to get the adrenaline out of their systems…

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