YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) _ About 60 wild elk corralled from the arid shrubland of south-central Washington stampeded from their corral on Wednesday, thwarting government efforts to stem the herd's population.

No injuries were reported.

Three elk were trampled, then destroyed.

A helicopter had herded the elk from the Rattlesnake Hills into the figure eight-shaped corral on Wednesday morning, the second day of what officials had billed as the state's largest wildlife roundup.

``It all went perfectly, like yesterday,'' said Kathy Criddle, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman. ``Then they busted through the fence, knocked about 20 feet down, and they all escaped.''

Wildlife managers had hoped to round up 200 elk this week from the 120-square-mile Arid Lands Ecology Reserve, on the western edge of the Hanford nuclear reservation.

They ended up with 130 elk _ half of which were transported to the Selkirk Range of northeastern Washington, and half to the Blue Mountains of southeastern Washington. Another 20 elk had been moved to the mountains in February.

The relocation program is part of a plan to manage the size of the fast-growing Hanford elk herd, estimated at nearly 1,000 head.

Officials say the animals pose a threat to fragile shrub vegetation on the no-hunting reserve, and have wandered outside its boundaries to eat nearby farmers' crops.

Over the next three years, wildlife managers hope to move 500 elk out of the herd, which could double in size every four years if left unchecked.