Characterizing Geophagic Behavior of Elk on Reclaimed Surface Mines of Kentucky

Elk, like most species of the deer family and other species like bison, occasionally seek out and consume important minerals found in soil at places historically called “licks”. This process is known as geophagy (earth-eating). Because surface mines can contain toxic concentrations of some chemical compounds, our research (w/ Dr. Chris Barton and Dr. Phil Crowley) led by doctoral student Brittany Slabach is investigating the chemical composition of mineral licks used by elk, and assessing how ingestion may be impacting elk health.

John J. Cox, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Wildlife and Conservation Biology
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