Range Partners with VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries

Jun 22, 2015

In 2012, Range Resources became the first “Monarch Partner” to support an historical elk restoration project in Virginia.  In May of that year, thanks to support from Range and other energy companies that followed suit, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) was able to begin releasing a small number of elk from southeastern Kentucky into the Virginia woods. 

This past May, three years after the initial release, VDGIF reached out to Range once again, asking if the company could assist with efforts to find elk tracking collars.  At the time of their release near our Nora property, some of the elk had been fitted with GPS telemetry collars so that biologists could monitor their movements. 

VDGIF Biologist Johnny Wills contacted Range's Southern Appalachia Division about gaining access to the Nora Field area.VA RRC

The collars that VDGIF wanted to locate were no longer around the elks’ necks – they had been remotely removed via a small explosive charge and the aid of a satellite once the animals started to grow out of the collars.  The elk are not harmed by the collar removal, and retrieving the equipment is important – each collar costs approximately $3000. 

After searching for an about an hour -- the first collar was located along a lease road by VDGIF intern Callie Hubbard. 

The second collar was tracked in a more rugged section of the field, making it much harder to locate.  But the group prevailed – and three hours later – the valuable collar was uncovered.

The release of the elk in Virginia three years ago was an historic event.  Today -- Virginia’s once non-existent elk herd has grown to over 100 animals, and thanks to efforts from VDGIF, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Range Resources, and other energy companies that care about conservation -- elk are thriving in the Nora field area of Virginia. 

Read more about Range's conservation efforts in Virginia here. Restoring North American Elk to Virginia