VANSANT, Va. (AP) — Virginia's elk herd continues to grow, along with the public's interest in the big animals.

The elk live on a reclaimed strip mine in Buchanan County.

Leon Boyd with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's local chapter estimates 20 calves were born over the summer. That would bring the herd's total to about 90 elk.

Boyd tells the Bristol Herald Courier that people come every week to see the herd. He expects interest to grow when the mating season begins.

The elk are the Rocky Mountain version of a native species that was last seen in Virginia around the time of the Civil War. The state brought the animals to the site from Kentucky in an effort to restore elk in Virginia.


Information from: Bristol Herald Courier,