DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — An effort is underway to reintroduce elk to parts of northeast Minnesota, but it could be a long process.

Minnesota Public Radio reported that the University of Minnesota has spent three years observing potential habit for elk in three forests in the region.

Researchers also say nearly 80 percent of rural landowners and residents in the area support reintroducing elk, which is key to the project’s success. A law was approved amid tension in 2016 that barred the expansion of elk in northwestern Minnesota, where elk have feasted on farmers’ crops.

Backers of the Minnesota plan are due to submit their final report this summer. But even if approved, supports note the project would take significant funding and likely wouldn’t see a new elk herd for three or four years.

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