Navajo Nation Zoo and Botanical Park

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The Navajo Zoo
Window Rock, Arizona
interesting facts

On the Navajo Nation...

Elk are the largest members of the Deer Family on the Navajo Nation, often growing to 500 to 700 pounds. They are usually found wandering the forested areas especially within the Chuska Mountain, Defiance Plateau, Black Mesa and the adjacent canyons and pinon-juniper woodlands. Elk are herbivores that feed on native grasses and forbs, and are very fond of fresh aspen sprouts. Like Mule Deer, Elk leave the high-elevations in the fall as snows storms begin.

Traditional Navajo Info...

Like the Mule Deer, Elk is respected and honored. Both are important sources of food, and one should pray before eating elk meat. Their skins are very valuable to possess, especially those that are 'unblemished' by an arrow.



Websites for More Information:
      Animal Diversity Web
      Desert USA
      National Geographic
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elk of The Navajo Nation Zoo

The Navajo Zoo has one Elk on exhibit; he is male (bull) that was brought to the Zoo by New Mexico Game & Fish Department in April 2007 after he was found orphaned. He arrived with his sister "Carin", who unfortunately died in 2015. Both had grown quite well from their first year at the Zoo. In January 2010, the Zoo lost its elderly cow Elk to a terminal medical condition; she was at the Zoo for 22 years!


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                                          Photographs © David Mikesic & The Navajo Zoo. No use of photos is permitted without written permission.