Tule Elk Another California Success Story


Elk at Point Reyes
Originally uploaded by donjd2

“It’s one of the greatest wildlife success stories in California,” Joe Hobbs, Department of Fish and Game biologist and state elk coordinator, is quoted as saying in The Red Bluff Daily News. “We’re pretty much running out of places to put extra elk.” The 22 herds of around 3,900 elk are a huge improvement from the population present in the late 1880s. Some sources say the elk subspecies, which is limited to California, numbered only 1 male and 1 female at that time. The population is now so robust that the California Fish and Game Commission is expanding hunting, offering 350 permits this year (up from 330 last year). Much of the success of the herds is due to the cooperation of property owners who have allowed officials to reintroduce elk on their private land. This has been crucial to the recovery of the elk because few public areas with suitable open grassland are available. Wildlife officials still wrestle with problems such as disease outbreaks and balancing the elk’s effect on plant populations, issues that will be considered carefully as reintroduction continues.

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