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Heat Wave Hard on Missouri Elk Population

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Elk, Missouri Conservation Department 2, photo by John Brunjes
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - This heat wave’s not just hard on humans, animals are being affected as well.

Missouri Conservation officials have discovered that 10 elk recently transported from Kentucky to southeast Missouri as part of a restoration project have died, apparently as a result of the heat and the stress of the move.

Joe Jerek is a spokesman for the Conservation Department.

“What we’re able to determine now is that a combination of some stress from acclimating to the new area, along with the successive heat and ongoing drought, have contributed to these deaths,” Jerek said.

“We’re still waiting on some laboratory results to help determine the causes of death and we have been working with some veterinary experts within Missouri and, really, from around the country.”

The elk that died included six cows, one yearling bull and three calves.

Jerek says they’re looking into the possibility that other factors contributed to the deaths, such as naturally-occurring toxins. But he says they’ve definitely ruled out poaching or any human-related cause.

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