Tennessee Wildlife Researchers Airlift Pregnant Elk Via Helicopter

Elk airlifted

You can add “helicopter rides” to the list of side effects during pregnancy.

That is if we’re talking about Tennessee’s elk population. If you’ve been in the Volunteer state recently and thought you partied too hard on Broadway when you saw an elk flying through the air, I can assure you that you weren’t seeing things (possibly).

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and its wildlife officials has been working diligently to conduct a unique and first-of-its-kind study based upon cow elk. The information gathered from the effort hopes to allow for a better understanding of the elk population’s dynamics.

Studying the pregnant elk does get a tad complicated. In order to complete the two-year study (which is being spearheaded by the University of Tennessee, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation), crews in helicopters first have to capture the cow elk.

Once they trap them (usually by net), researchers and veterinarians check out the wild animals and implant them with GPS transmitters that can track their movement across the region. Why, you might be asking?

The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency’s elk program coordinator Garrett Clevenger described it as this:

“We’re putting a transmitter inside the pregnant cow, specifically targeting those, in hopes that when they give birth in May (or) June, we’ll be able to go out and collar the calves and then monitor them over the course of their life to see when they’re actually recruited into the population.”

Before they implant the tracking devices though, they have to catch each elk, and that’s where the helicopters (and subsequent elk rides) come in.

But listen, I know why you clicked on this story. You have probably been thinking this whole time, if you didn’t already skip down to the bottom:

“When is this guy going to shut up and show me the video of a pregnant elk soaring through the air via helicopter?”

Trust me, I HEAR you, and I’m happy to direct you to the wild (in the name of science) video below:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock