'Melvin the elk' back on display in Richland

Melvin the bull elk is back on display at the CREHST museum.

A mount of the elk's head and rack, with five sets of his massive antlers, is on loan from the Department of Energy and will be displayed through April.

Melvin was born and died on the Hanford Reach National Monument's Arid Lands Ecology Reserve along the face of Rattlesnake Mountain.

He roamed the reserve from 1978 until his death from natural causes in early 1996. He was the largest herd bull, and at one time his antlers measured 53 inches long.

A radio collar transmitter he was fitted with in 1984 by wildlife officials supplied biologists with invaluable information about the elk herd on the reserve, where hunting is not allowed. Biologists used him to learn more about elk habitat use, foraging, concealment behavior, daily movement patterns, efficiency of water use and reproductive success.

CREHST is at 95 Lee Blvd., Richland. Admission to the museum is $4 for adults, $3 for students 7 to 17 and seniors 62 and up, and free for those under 6.