The world’s largest remaining herd of the native rare Tule elk are dying of thirst at the Point Reyes National Seashore after ranchers erected an eight-foot high fence separating the elk from leased dairy and meat farms. The National Park Service built the fences to appease cattle ranchers holding leases in the park.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, there are 445 tule elk; a prime tourist attraction coming to admire the magnificent antlered animals. In 1978, a small herd of 30 tule elk had been reintroduced onto the land – a preserve surrounded by three miles of fencing. Five years ago, the herd was almost all wiped out because of a drought – this year looks to be the same.
On Sunday, In Defense of Animals (IDA), held a demonstration accompanied by ForElk, Tree Spirit Project and Rancho Compassion calling on the National Park Service to remove the fencing. So far, six elk have been found dead after dying of thirst.
“Thirsty elk are currently beset by drought, wildfire smoke, and a heatwave, and caged into the preserve by a fence, which prevents them from accessing alternative water sources. The NPSPS has sided with local ranchers and refuses to provide water for fenced-in elk. The Park has blocked In Defense of Animals and our partners from delivering water to the dying elk.”
Ranchers have 5,600 cows grazing and drinking water which greatly outnumber the elk, but refuse to let the elk share the drinking water, calling the area unsustainable to both the cows and the elk.
Check out the video:
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