Encyclopedia Article


Also known as wapity (meaning "white rump" in Shawnee), the elk is one of the largest species of the deer family. It is recognizable by its size, its light color, and the male's impressive antlers. It was once widespread throughout North America, but due to extensive hunting and loss of habitat is now is mostly confined to the Rocky Mountains and southern Canada. Elk were native to New Mexico, but by the late nineteenth century relentless hunting had eliminated the original populations. New Mexico and private individuals have collaborated since 1910 to reintroduce the North American elk into the area, and it is again abundant in northern New Mexico, and west across into northern Arizona following the Mogollon Rim, and can also be found in growing numbers in the southern parts of the state.

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"Rocky Mountain Bull Elk, in Nebraska tall grass prairie, October 25, 2009." by MONGO is licensed under Public Domain.

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