For thousands of years, hunters, scientists, and nature lovers have been fascinated by North American elk. To the Lakota, elk represented strength, courage, and wisdom. At birth, Lakota boys were given an elk tooth charm to ward off ill fortune and to promote a long life. Some of that wild mystery persists to this day, and few people are more enamored with elk than those who hunt them. Across North America, sportsmen and conservationists have worked to protect elk and elk habitat, successfully restoring the population to over a million individuals from steady declines in the past few centuries. Biologists have even introduced elk to other countries, where they flourish.