DULUTH (AP)-- There's an effort gaining steam to potentially reintroduce elk to northeastern Minnesota.

University of Minnesota research shows nearly 80 percent of rural landowners and residents support restoring elk to the area.

Community support is vital since the state passed a law in 2016 barring the expansion of elk in northwestern Minnesota.

The state brought in 1,500 elk about 20 years ago. Now they have a population of more than 10,000.

Minnesota wildlife biologist Mike Schrage says the earliest Minnesotans would likely see a new herd of elk on the landscape three or four years from now.