Consider Elk Plan For W.Va. Carefully

Outdoors enthusiasts, especially hunters, probably were happy to hear Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s weekend comment that it may be time to consider establishing elk herds in West Virginia.

Elk are majestic relatives of deer, last seen in the wilds of our state more than a century ago. During recent years, a few have wandered into West Virginia from neighboring states, including Kentucky, where a program to re-introduce elk has been in effect for several years.

Indeed, the presence of elk herds in the Mountain State would be nice in many respects.

But previous state studies have indicated concerns about large numbers of elk in West Virginia, including their effect on the environment and other animals.

Before the state takes action to re-introduce elk herds, satisfactory answers to those questions need to be provided.

In other states and countries, ecological disasters have resulted from establishing new species or reintroducing old ones. Elk herds in our mountains would be nice, but not at that cost.