A test of strength in the Tule Elk Reserve at Point Reyes National Seashore. The rutting season is over, but the bulls are still vying for dominance.
A test of strength in the Tule Elk Reserve at Point Reyes National Seashore. The rutting season is over, but these bulls are still vying for dominance.
Kim and I took a day trip to Point Reyes National Seashore from San Francisco. We drove up the North End to the Tule Elk Reserve, then hiked the Tomales Point Trail. As we trekked along, we came upon solitary bucks, a buck with his harem, and a large herd of does. Three and a half miles into the 4.7 mile trail, we came across a gathering of bucks at the watering pond.
Tule Elk are the smallest of all elk in North America. They can be found only in California, ranging from the grasslands and marshlands of the Central Valley to the grassy hills on the coast. It is estimated that there were 500,000 elk roaming the region when the first Europeans arrived. By 1895, due to over hunting and habitat loss, only 28 could be found. As a result of this great loss, the state of California awarded them complete protection.
Conservation measures were taken to protect the species in the 1970s. In the Spring of 1978, two bulls and eight cows were brought to Point Reyes from the San Luis Island Wildlife Refuge near Los Banos. In 2009, over 440 were counted at Tomales Point, making the Point Reyes herds one of the largest populations in California. Today the wild population exceeds 4,000.
Music by: Kevin MacLeod
Song: Fields of Tenerron
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