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Elk in Great Smoky Mountains

The Reintroduction of Elk Into the Great Smoky Mountains

By Julie Matthews

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to 65 mammal species with the elk as the largest mammal at almost 700 pounds, according to the National Park Service. 

Due to hunting and the loss of habitat, in 1900 the elk population in North America dropped to such low levels that concerns arouse about their possible extinction. In 2001, the National Park Service began efforts to reintroduce elk into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by bringing in 25 elk and then 27 more the following year. Today elk can be spotted, especially during the morning and evening, in the Cataloochee section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

For more information about elk and how to protect them, visit NPS.gov/GRSM/Learn/Nature/Elk.htm#.

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