More on Elk
Ontario’s Elk Restoration Program
In February 1996, the Ontario government announced, with the support of partners, the intention to develop an elk restoration program. In 1998, The Plan for the Restoration of Elk in Ontario was created.
This comprehensive plan addressed many factors involved in a wildlife restoration project. The factors included habitat needs, habitat suitability, population ecology, genetics, diseases and parasites, human-elk interactions. It also identified potential areas in Ontario for restoration.
|A total of 443 elk were released at four sites across Ontario.|
The restoration program was carried out with the help of many partners. Between 1998 and 2001, elk were released in areas around the Nipissing/French River, Bancroft/ North Hastings, the North Shore of Lake Huron, and Lake of the Woods. (View map of elk release areas. ) Released elk came from Elk Island National Park in Alberta, a source of elk for many reintroduction and restoration projects in North America.
During the planning stages of each local elk restoration project, several local meetings were held and a notice was posted on the Environmental Registry as required by the Environmental Assessment Act and Environmental Bill of Rights.
American elk populations in Ontario are estimated by counting the number of animals observed during aerial surveys and entering this data into a population model. Population estimates vary across the province, and do not include elk that may live outside of the primary core ranges.
The sizes of all wildlife populations rise and fall over time. Small changes in population size from year to year may not be significant, while changes over many years can indicate a trend. Differences in elk population estimates seen from year to year can result from a combination of factors including: natural mortality, hunting mortality in areas where there is a hunting season, natural dispersal of animals away from the core area, survey conditions, and differences caused by the statistical model that generates the estimates.
|Year||Provincial Population Estimate||
Population Estimates¹ for
|Lake of the Woods (LOW)||
Lake Huron North Shore (LHNS)
|Nipissing/French River (NFR)||Bancroft/North Hastings (BNH)|
|2006||375-452||35-45||70-80||greater than 120||150-207|
|2007||Not Available²||35-45||75-85||fewer than 100||Not Available²|
¹ Elk population estimates were acquired using a variety of techniques. Due to the difficulties in observing elk from the air during surveys, population estimates are reported either as an approximate range or as the average value within that range.
² Information was not available as a survey was not done in an area that year.
³ Information was not available due to poor survey conditions in the area during the 2010 survey.