MARSHFIELD — On July 10, 2015, Wildwood Zoo welcomed an elk calf. The calf is the first born to the zoo’s herd in almost 15 years. Elk calves typically weigh around 35 pounds at birth and can take their first wobbly steps just a couple hours after being born. Even though it has been so long since the herd welcomed a calf, the other elk seem to be taking to the newborn well.
Elk calves spend much of their first couple weeks resting in tall grasses or other hidden areas. Though the calf at Wildwood Zoo is in the pasture with the other adults, it may be hard to spot for a while.
Historically, elk lived throughout most of the state of Wisconsin. However, by the mid-to-late 1800s, elk had been extirpated from the state, mainly due to overhunting and habitat loss. Today the DNR is involved with two elk reintroductions in the state. The first began in 1995 in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (CNNF) near Clam Lake, Wis. The second began this year with animals being released in the Black River State Forest near Black River Falls. The DNR hopes to attain long-term population sizes of 1,400 and 390 elk in the CNNF and Black River State Forest, respectively.
To keep up to date with the new elk calf or other Wildwood Zoo news like the recent births of three bison calves, check out the zoo’s Facebook page. In addition to keeping up with the animals, you can learn more about the special events, new exhibits, and other happenings at Wildwood Zoo.