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California drought causes cattle and elk to compete for grassland


Point Reyes National Seashore (California): The severe drought in California has reduced the widespread area of of the grassland where herds of elk (Californian Deer) as well as Angus cattle used to graze. A herd of elk are reported to have moved warily along the coastal hill while flocks of Black Angus cattle were seen grazing at the nearby area. Despite the apparent peaceful coexistence, the animals are at the brink of a battle for the precious grasslands which has been reducing by the prevailing drought. Cattlemen and farmers who live and work within the 71,000-acres (287-square km) of Point Reyes National Seashore, (ie. 35 miles (56 km) northwest of San Francisco) want the free-roaming elk to be fenced as they have to compete for grassland. Wildlife advocates and many park users have opposed the fencing in the park border as almost half of the majestic elks were died while living in a 2,600-acre fenced area in the northern part of the park. The park has not yet determined within how much land the free-ranging elk herd can be confined to if they would be fenced in. The Point Reyes National Seashore is one of the few parks in America with agricultural operations, some of them dating back to the 1800s. They were purchased by the federal government to establish the preserve and the lands were leased back to the same families for agricultural purposes. It was in 1970s, that the tule elk are reintroduced to the park. The Point Reyes is the only national park in California where tule elks are found. They cannot be found anywhere outside California. Based on past experience, there

are serious concerns about the construction of a giant fence at the circumference of the Park. Elk herd in the northern region of Point Reyes has always been fenced off and their population were dropped from 540 to 286 last year. According to experts, the old stock ponds used by the elk flocks for water were dried up in the drought and left them to die of thirst.   Video on California Drought