Since their re-introduction in 2001, the EBCI have participated in a multi-agency effort to restore elk (Cervus elaphus) to the mountain landscape. The management of elk started with a memorandum of understanding between the National Park Service and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in 2010 to develop habitat, protect from threats, and enhance communication and training opportunities on mutual issues of interest relative to the elk population. Elk have greatly benefited Cherokee tourism. However, people are arguably the most significant contributor to elk mortality in the southern Appalachians. Major threats to elk in human-altered systems include: vehicle collisions, poaching, and depredation.

Management actions include:

  • Population ecology of elk
  • Human-elk conflict remediation and research