CUSTER - Park officials are using a pair of helicopters to drive hundreds of elk from Wind Cave National Park into nearby Custer State Park.

The Rapid City Journal reports that the drive is aimed at reducing the elk herd in Wind Cave, which numbers 900 to 950 animals. Officials would like the herd cut in half based on available habitat in the park.

The helicopter crews from Alaska-based Quicksilver Air Inc. have been in the Black Hills since the middle of February assisting with an aerial survey of elk in the Black Hills.

GF&P regional wildlife manager John Kanta says the goal is to move up to 500 elk out of the park, with many going into Custer Park to help build up the elk population there.

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