Translocating Roosevelt elk for site specific herd augmentation: two case studies
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The state of Washington, USA and four Native American tribes on the east Olympic Peninsula cooperatively conducted single translocations of 17 Roosevelt elk (Cervus elaphus roosevelti) into the Dosewallips drainage in 1995 and 24 elk into the Skokomish drainage in 1997, in attempts to augment the small resident herds. Three of the elk translocated into the Dosewallips and 12 of those translocated into the Skokomish were fitted with radio-collars and monitored for 3 years post-translocation for survival and movement. Survival of elk translocated into the Dosewallips could not be calculated due to insufficient sample size, but survival of elk translocated into the Skokomish averaged 0.65+or-0.4 for the first 2 years and was 0.80 on the third year post-translocation. This compares with survival of 0.91+or-0.02 for 43 resident elk from six herds in the east Olympics from 1993-2000. Of the elk translocated into the Dosewallips, 41% remained with the resident herd for at least 1 year, while only 4% of the translocated elk remained with the Skokomish herd for 1 year. All radio-collared elk translocated into the Skokomish dispersed singly or in small groups an average of 20 km in the general direction of the source herd. The population in the Dosewallips herd increased from 26 to 46 within 1 year of the translocation, and has remained stable at the higher level. The Skokomish herd increased from 17 to 25 after the translocation, but subsequently declined to 15.