Rewilding, North America Edition

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An elk, the first seen in South Carolina in centuries, gazes across a field in northern Pickens County. (Photo: provided/Caleb Cassell)

We would much rather that original nature was protected in its original state, but that does not keep us from celebrating the various efforts we see to reintroduce species, especially when they show signs of success as in this case from South Carolina, USA:

In Pickens County, first elk sighting in state for centuries

Ron Barnett

For the first time since the Upstate was Cherokee territory, a wild elk has been seen roaming the woodlands of South Carolina.

Northern Pickens County is abuzz with sightings of the bull elk, whose wanderings are being traced on social media.

It’s not the species that once inhabited this area but more likely one that found himself ousted by the dominant males of a herd of Rocky Mountain elk that have been re-established in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, said noted outdoorsman and Pickens County resident Dennis Chastain.

“This is a historic moment that some of us knew would eventually come,” Chastain said. “This is the first wild elk to roam the woods and wild places in South Carolina since they disappeared in the early 1700’s.”

Capt. Robert McCullough of the state Department of Natural Resources said the agency is monitoring the animal’s movements.

“We’ve been following it like everybody else on Facebook and different things where people have been posting pictures, and we’re getting reports,” he said.

“Right now it hasn’t caused a major problem or anything.”

Caleb Cassell said he came across the elk, which is significantly larger than the indigenous deer, as it was walking down the middle of Eastatoe Creek Road.

“He’s a younger elk I’d say he got kicked out of the herd in Cherokee and is wandering, looking for another herd and has gotten lost,” Cassell said…

Read the whole story here.

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