CERVID INDUSTRY OFFER OF ELK TO TENNESSEE
ELK REINTRODUCTION PROGRAM
In February 2007, when it appeared that the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency would be unable to import additional elk to expand the herd on the Northern Cumberland Plateau, interested deer and elk breeders from all over the United States met by telephone conference call to discuss ways that the Cervid Industry might provide elk for this program.
Breeders of elk, both within and without Tennessee, offered to donate approximately 50 elk. Participating in the conference call was Cleve Tedford of Tellico Plains, Tennessee and a member of the Tennessee Elk Health Advisory Board. This Board was established jointly by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. The group of deer and elk breeders including those who had offered to donate elk asked Tedford to make the offer through the Tennessee Elk Health Advisory Board to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
It was also suggested by the Cervid Industry representatives on the conference call that the offer of animals might be made to the University of Tennessee with funding provided by the Cervid Industry to support a graduate level elk research project carried out by University of Tennessee graduate students. Tedford relayed this offer to Dr. Ed Ramsey, Chairman of the Elk Health Advisory Board, who duly presented the proposal to Dr. Buddy Moore, the Associate Dean for Research of the UT College of Veterinary Medicine. Dean Moore replied that the college would be unable to accept elk as a donation.
Dr. Ramsey then advised that if the industry wished to donate the elk directly to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the man to contact would be Mr. Greg Wathen, Chief of Wildlife. On or about March 1, 2007 Tedford contacted Mr. Wathen and explained that elk breeders both within and without Tennessee had committed to offering up to 50 head of elk to Tennessee’s Elk Reintroduction Program. These elk would be certified by licensed veterinarians to meet all health protocols established by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and all proposed rules for transport of elk promulgated by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Mr. Wathen declined the offer.
* The North American Deer Farmer’s Association is an association representing an industry that has an annual economic impact on this nation’s economy of $3 billion. NADeFA is a political voice for approximately 15,000 deer breeders, ranchers and farmers across the nation. They represent the deer industry by working closely with state and federal legislators and regulatory agencies to develop rules and regulations that govern the deer industry. NADeFA is dedicated to the promotion of deer farming and ranching as an agricultural pursuit and serves its members through its educational programs, publications and by providing leadership in setting and maintaining quality standards.