National Park Service Facing Lawsuit for Allegedly Causing Deaths of 152 Elk in California Park

SnowBrains |
tule elk, point Reyes national seashore,
Tule elk at Point Reyes. By Smithfl – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The National Park Service is being sued by three California residents and the Animal Legal Defense Fund for allegedly causing the deaths of dozens of elk at Point Reyes National Seashore.

The lawsuit accuses the park service of being negligent and claims more animals will perish if the agency is not ordered to provide food and water during the current heatwave.

152 tule elk, a subspecies of elk native to California, have died from starvation and/or dehydration in the last year due to a fence erected by the NPS to stop them from competing with cattle for food and water. The cattle, belonging to some of the biggest names in the San Francisco meat and dairy industry, are permitted by the park service to graze on public land.

“The National Park Service has a responsibility to protect and preserve these beautiful animals. The idea that depriving them of food and water somehow fulfills that responsibility isn’t just absurd, it’s undeniably inhumane.”

Kate Barnekow, Harvard Law School’s Animal Law & Policy Clinic

The park service recently installed three large troughs when water sources began drying up, but water was only accessible to one of four herds at Tomales Point, the lawsuit said.

A drought emergency was declared in California last month after a dry winter and unseasonably warm spring.

The tule elk (Cervus Canadensis Nannodes) is a subspecies of elk found only in California, ranging from the grasslands and marshlands of the Central Valley to the grassy hills on the coast. The subspecies name derives from the tule, a species of sedge native to freshwater marshes on which the Tule elk feed. When the Europeans first arrived, an estimated 500,000 tule elk roamed these regions, but by 1870 they were thought to be extirpated. However, in 1874–1875 a single breeding pair was discovered in the tule marshes of Buena Vista Lake in the southern San Joaquin Valley. Conservation measures were taken to protect the species in the 1970s. Today, the wild population exceeds 4,000. Tule elk can reliably be found in Carrizo Plain National Monument, Point Reyes National Seashore, portions of the Owens Valley from Lone Pine to Bishop, on Coyote Ridge in Santa Clara Valley, San Jose, California, and in the Pacheco state park and areas surrounding San Luis reservoir near Los Banos, California.

Point Reyes National Seashore, CA

Related Articles

10 thoughts on “National Park Service Facing Lawsuit for Allegedly Causing Deaths of 152 Elk in California Park

  1. Hey Snowbrains, while you guys keep posting crap that has nothing to do with the skiing/snowboarding & outdoor lifestyle. Unofficial networks content is killing it right now. Maybe you guys need to take a look at UN, because your content in the last month has been almost all garbage.

  2. I wonder if that boomer who blames everything on the Sierra club and has a hard on for Europe has any opinions on this

    1. Glad you’re thinking of me. I think its really sad Tule Elk were killed because they were fenced in. Its also really sad the cattle were permitted to get the water and feed they needed in this scenario. Wildlife conservation is big deal especially for endangered species. The State of California has done and incredibly poor job preserving native species. The Sierra’s should be packed with California Big Horn sheep and Southern CA should have a big population of dessert big horn sheep. There are more of both species in neighboring Nevada where they understand wildlife conservation.

      The Sierra Club sucks because they work to permanently close massive swaths of land to any use accept hikers and people on horseback. The funny thing the horse is a non-native species and actually carry a lot of disease that jump over into native populations and can cause big die offs. Domestic sheep also carry a lot of decease that jumps over to native sheep, deer and elk and cause die offs.

      The Sierra Club fails to provide a balanced and sensible land use philosophy. They fail to give people in wheelchairs or elderly people the opportunity to access and play in Wilderness areas. Did you know that it is illegal to use a wheelchair in the wilderness areas? Did you know that it is illegal to use a human powered mountain bike in wilderness areas? Did you know that it is illegal to have a stroller in wilderness areas? Those are rules put in place a la Sierra Club.

      Did you know that the Sierra Club installed over 9,000,000 acres of protected wildness areas in the Sierra’s that can’t be accessed by anyone other than hikers and horseback riders? And every year they work to grow those areas and close more land. They do it in CA. They do it all over the West. Millions of acres of public land is closed to the majority of the US citizens every year via the efforts and activities of the Sierra Club.

      Seems a little selfish and unbalanced to me.

        1. AnOnYmOuS is another successful product of America’s failing education system.

          I’ll keep my comments shorter so you don’t have to strain your brain too much reading more than 2 sentences.

          1. I cant help it, you boomers defunded public schools like you did everything else with your precious tax cuts. You sociopaths.

Got an opinion? Let us know...