I have mentioned before that I am passionate about conservation, one conservation topic that I have become an advocate for since moving to Alaska is the introduction of Roosevelt Elk to Kodiak Island.
Convention wisdom condemn transplanting non native species into closed ecosystems citing that in most cases the non native species will thrive at the expense of the already established species in the ecosystem. This will an imbalance in the available resources and will inevitably lead to a crash that will reduce biodiversity in the ecosystem. These “Nonnative Species” Alaska Department of fish and Game are something to be condemned not encouraged.
While I agree that the introduction of non native species is typically a bad thing Kodiak island lives in constant contradiction. Historically Kodiak island was home to only 6 mammals the ” Kodiak Bear, the red fox, the river otter, the short-tailed weasel, the tundra vole, and the little brown bat.” Mammals Endemic to Kodiak Island The Sitka Black tailed Deer, Mountain Goats, Bison, and Caribou that reside on the island are all nonnative species introduced to provide hunting opportunities. Kodiak Island Natural History
There have even been failed attempts to introduce Dall Sheep, and moose to the island but the populations never found footing and within a generation were gone. Afognak Elk have been successfully introduced the the neighboring islands of Afognak and Raspberry Island where healthy populations exist. Afognak and Raspberry Island set less than 20 miles form Kodiak and host identical flora and fauna with the exception of the size of the human populations. Roosevelt Elk
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game does not deny the existence of Elk on Kodiak island stating that Elk occasionally make the swim from Afognak to Kodiak. However Improbable it may seem for a hoofed animal to swim 20 miles of open ocean it does happen. But these are young bulls never the cows that would be required to create a breeding population.
Below is a picture I took this spring of a loan bull elk on Kodiak.
With very limited populations already existing on the island and no impending biological collaps I believe that Alaska Deparment of Fish and Game should relocate 5 cow elk from the Afognak heard and relocat them to Kodiak Island in an atempt to establish a breeding population.
The question comes next is why? For this I have 3 reasons. I by establishing a heard of elk on Kodiak we create yet another viable Rosevelt elk population, with the Kodiak heard existing in relative isolation this cold act as a biological bank that could be drawn from if populations ever plummeted in other parts of their range. My second reason is one that makes the world go around… MONEY. Creating a population of Roosevelt Elk on Kodiak would provide another retail opportunity of the people of Kodiak providing an extended tourist season as people come in to take part in the Kodiak elk hunting season. This would also provide additional revenue for wildlife and parks as every non resident that traveled in to Alaska to take part in the Elk season, would need a minimum of $760 in licenses and tags to hunt. ADFG My third reason is a little more selfish but as I hike I love interacting with wildlife and having a population of elk on the island would give me one more opportunity.
So the Kodiak Elk? There is a small population but with relatively few risks to the ecosystem and huge financial up sides I hope to one day see the support of others and with a small strategic introduction of a few cows someday see the Kodiak elk population grow.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Justification and Scenarios
I chose to licence my work Kodiak Elk? While many of the other works I have created for this class may have a more creative twist they were largely completed with the end goal of leaning how to use an unfamiliar technology. Kodiak Elk? on the other hand was created with the intention to create sport for something that I feel passionate about. I chose to licence the work purely under Attribution, allowing for commercial applications, derivatives and sharing of adapted works. The reason I chose to licence the work this way has to do with the intent of the work. I would like to see a non native species introduced to a limited environment. This view is not widely accepted or even discuses. Through licencing the work only through Attribution I give others free reign to adapt and distribute the work how they see fit. My thought is that the more people how see the work in any form, the more the topic of introducing elk to Kodiak can become part of an every day conversation.
A scenario for a proper use for this work would be its adaptation and reprinting in a in newspaper or magazine. If an outdoor journalist found my write up and wanted to use any part of the text or my image to make their own point or use my photo or edit my photo in any way as part of an article that they would then sell for profit they would be allowed to just so long as they attributed the original photo or text to me.
An improper use would be if someone we to take my photo edit it and print it on a t-shirt for sale to the public without attributing the photograph to me. In this scenario the individual would have essentially violated the only rule of my licence, that being that I be credited as the original author of the work.