Elk of Ontario

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American Elk near L'Amable, Ontario

Previous postings cover some of the critters of L’Amable, Ontario. Mostly we have spotted these on the roads and trails around our house, and also in our yard. Recently, we were on a spur road in the Turiff area. We saw a big garage-like structure, and later found it is part of the Elk Restoration Project.

It turns out that there is an interesting history of elk in the province of Ontario, Canada. They were extinct, or nearly extinct, but have been reintroduced since the late 1990s. The province relocates elk from a sanctuary in Alberta. Bancroft, Ontario is one of 4-6 areas that have had elk reintroduced, and the local herd is estimated at 135 or so. Here is a nice writeup of the program, and some of the background.

Last year (2018) I saw a small herd of elk along Upper Turiff Road, just a few miles from the Elk Restoration Project structure. I managed to get a photo, and believe these are “American Elk.”

These elk are slightly larger than white-tailed dear we see frequently (including daily in our front yard). They have a reddish-brown color, versus deer that tend towards gray. This photo is from the only time I spotted elk in our area, but now that I know more about their status, I will keep my eye open.

It seems that seasonal hunting of elk is permitted in Ontario, on a rather limited basis. Combined with such a small localized population, and some continued repopulation from Alberta (as described at the link above), it seems the prevalence of elk will remain rather low.