Virginia’s elk population was restored after public interest in undertaking an elk restoration program in the state was expressed to the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries. In 2010, planning for the reintroduction of the elk into Buchanan County, Va., started after an almost 100-year absence. Elk were historically found throughout eastern North America, including Virginia. However, factors such as habitat loss and unregulated hunting caused elk to become virtually extinct within eastern North America by the late 1800s. Attempts at elk restoration in eastern states during the early to mid-1900s often failed due to a lack of suitable habitat and knowledge of elk ecology.