Elk are native to the area but they were hunted out long ago so back around the turn of the century, elk were transplanted onto the Suffield range with the idea that, as native animals, they would be easier on the land than the wild horses that had been there for the previous hundred years or so. Once the horses were removed and the grassland had regained some of its strength, the elk were turned loose.
And they thrived. There’s now around 8000 of them in the area. And they’ve spread well beyond the base’s borders.
I saw the first ones on the base as I drove along and them spotted a dozen or so of them on the bits of farm land near Jenner. But I was most of the way to Buffalo before I found any I could photograph.
It is truly amazing to see them out on the open grassland like that and I’m thrilled that an animal gone so long from its rightful place is finally back again. But the ranchers out there have legitimate concerns over their rising numbers. And those numbers that are likely to increase.