Lost Upstate elk found back in Upstate shortly after returned to - FOX Carolina 21

Lost Upstate elk found back in Upstate shortly after returned to rural mountains

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FOX Carolina/Nov. 16, 2016 FOX Carolina/Nov. 16, 2016
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The infamous Upstate elk seen grazing around the Upstate was recently transported to a new, more remote place to roam, and Monday the elk was found back in the Upstate.

The Upstate elk was transported to the the rural mountains of South Carolina last weekend, but Monday he was found walking around in Salem.

Millie H. got photo evidence of the elk's reappearance in Oconee County.

DNR officials confirmed the elk's antlers had been removed for its own safety. They also said it does not have a tracking device.

The elk had been seen several times over the past few weeks, mostly in Pickens County, but was in Greenville on Wednesday. He was spotted on Frontage Road, near White Horse Road in Greenville.

Department of Natural Resource officials tell us it's the same elk that's been seen several times.  Tom Swayngham is the Assistant Chief of Wildlife for the South Carolina DNR. 

“The elk is a young bull from The Great Smoky Mountains herd in Cataloochee that they reintroduced out there, and it's a young male who was run off probably by an older male and is looking for a new place to live," Swayngham said.

He explained how they know it’s the same male elk.

“In North Carolina the folks in the park and with North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission have been tracking this animal and we've sent them pictures and they confirm it is an elk from the population.”

Swayngham said he is most likely trying to find a new herd or a female.  But on Thursday, DNR officials intervened and used a tranquilizer dart to sedate the elk and transported him to a remote area in the South Carolina mountains

Caution was taken when using a dart on the elk because it can be dangerous.

“Elk are hard to tranquilize, we would have to use twice as much a drug on this elk as we would to a comparable bear," he said. "They are notoriously hard to dart and it also can be dangerous to the animal when you do, that’s our hesitancy there.  We don't want to kill the animal.”

DNR officials said the elk rested quietly in the trailer during transport and was moved without incident.

They have not said if they have plans to relocate the elk again after its most recent appearance.

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