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Q: All the publicity and efforts on behalf of the elk in Arizona are gratifying. The elk is truly one of the most majestic of God's creatures. But does anybody have a credible number of how many elk there are in Arizona? And since elk are known to migrate, is there any estimate of how many of them are part-time residents of the state?

A: "Elk are not really migratory animals like caribou," said Gary Roberts, fire prevention officer for the Payson Ranger District. "They range a little, but they pretty much stick around here."

Incidentally, Roberts said, the Rocky Mountain elk we have here are not native to this area. They were imported from Yellowstone National Park in 1913.

"There were originally 83 elk that were released in Cabin Draw near Chevelon Creek," Roberts said. "Today, the population of Rocky Mountain elk in this state is 35,000-plus."

Prior to the arrival of the Rocky Mountain elk, another elk species indigenous to the area was hunted to extinction.

Q: Is there a town ordinance or law about people walking their dogs and letting them relieve themselves without picking up?

A: "Yes, that's covered under our animal control ordinance," Payson Police Lt. Don Engler said.

According to the ordinance, an animal is considered a public nuisance if it "unreasonably annoys humans, endangers the life or health of persons or other animals, or substantially interferes with the rights of citizens other than their owners." A subsection specifically forbids damaging, soiling, defiling or defecating on the property of another.

For more information or to report a specific problem, the town's new animal control officer is Don Tanner.

Call 474-5251, ext. 147, to reach Roundup's What's Up? line. Leave your question on the answering machine and we'll try to find the answer.

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