Food habits of reintroduced elk in southeastern Kentucky

Jennifer Schneider, David S. Maehr, Karen J. Alexy, John J. Cox, Jeffery L. Larkin, Brian C. Reeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Based on microhistological examinations of feces, Cervus elaphus (elk) from a reintroduced herd on the Cumberland Plateau in southeastern Kentucky exhibited an annual diet of grasses (24%), forbs (27%), and browse (32%). Diets shifted seasonally, possibly in response to availability and palatability. Forbs dominated the summer diet (34%), whereas grasses, forbs, and woody browse accounted for approximately equal portions of the fall diet. Grasses (40%), and browse (46%) dominated the diet during winter and spring, respectively. Grasses were eaten less during spring (10%) than during any other month. Nutritional quality does not appear to be limiting in this growing population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-546
Number of pages12
JournalSoutheastern Naturalist
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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