Image: © Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo Elk Herd Grows by Two


The Animal Facts Editorial Team


June 2, 2023 8:22 pm


Woodland Park Zoo, Washington, The United States

Woodland Park Zoo have welcomed the arrival of two elk in to their family. Male, Huckleberry, and female, Holly arrived from the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck, N.D. Both will turn 2 years old this summer.

With the latest addition the elk herd at the Woodland Park Zoo now has five members. In addition to Huckleberry and Holly, the zoo is home to females Lily, Willow and Buttons. Their last male elk, Goodwyn (good-win) passed away at 20 years old last summer due to geriatric-related issues.

“We’re very fortunate to grow our herd so visitors to Woodland Park Zoo can learn about natural elk behavior and see how they socialize. After losing our sole male, Goodwyn, last summer, we’re back to a natural grouping with the addition of a new male,” said Pat Owen, an animal care manager at Woodland Park Zoo. “Huckleberry and Holly appear calm and confident. Although the male is young, Huckleberry is already presenting behavior like a bull both in his posture and attempts to dominate the cows, that is until they put him in his place.”

Guests can meet the elk herd along the zoo's Living Northwest Trail. Their habitat features wolves in the foreground giving guests an opportunity to learn about the critical predator-prey relationships among this species.

Elk can be found in two subpopulations within Washington State. Roosevelt elk, are primarily seen on the west side of the Cascades while the Rocky Mountain elk range on the east side. Huckleberry, Holly, and Buttons are Rocky Mountain and Lily and Willow are Roosevelt.

Buttons the elk gained notoriety in the wild where she was orphaned. Local residents began to feed, pet and ride her. For her safety and the community, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists tried relocating Buttons to a more remote area, but she wasn’t able to integrate with the wild elk herds; in 2019 Woodland Park Zoo became her new home. Her story reminds us of the need to keep wild animals wild.

Woodland Park Zoo have a number of programs to support species living in the Pacific Northwest through its Living Northwest Program.

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More on the Elk!

The elk is the second largest species of deer with which we share our planet, learn more about them with our fact file.

Our Favourite Elk Fact!

Males have a pair of larger antlers which can branch out up to 1.2m (4ft) wide. Each year these antlers are shed and a new pair will grow in. As they grow these antlers develop a coating of velvet.

Image: © Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

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