Save the Tule Elk

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Diana Oppenheim
Diana Oppenheim signed this petition

The Tule Elk were once thought to be extinct and have been a pillar of success in local conservation work. Point Reyes National Seashore is now the only national park where you can view these animals. Local beef and dairy operations, leasing 30% of the park, are pressuring the National Park Service to "manage" the wild elk, including their relocation off the seashore and even their lethal removal. At a time where so much wildlife is already at stake, we ask the park to protect the elk and its habitat and NOT cave to industry pressure.

The Tule Elk are the pinnacle of a larger, deeper issue-- what is the purpose of our National Parks? 

Point Reyes National Seashore is one of the most biologically diverse spots on the California coast.  It is home to 15% of all California biodiversity including several species found nowhere else on the planet.  The beef and dairy industry have been allowed permits for commercial operations within the park boundaries year-round.  Not only is the industry listed as one of the leading threats for several endangered species, but it is noted as the highest emitter of greenhouse gasses in the National Seashore and it is also noted as having led to high levels of pollution in the coastal watersheds making California's most precious water systems also some of its most polluted.  The Tule Elk are not the problem.  In fact, there are more cows in the National Seashore than there are Tule Elk in the entire world. 

Lets be clear.  This is NOT private land.  This is public land.  This is all of our land.  And especially with such a rich and sensitive ecosystem, we should protect for its inherent value as wild landscape. 

The National Park Service is studying alternatives for their General Land Management Plan that have life-or-death consequences for the native elk. Public comments to the draft plan-- due out this summer-- will be crucial as to how the elk will be managed going forward and whether the park can be managed to recover from the overgrazing and pollution that are the result of decades of poorly supervised, unsustainable beef and dairy ranching.   

We are asking for:

  1. Under no circumstance shall the park kill any Tule Elk.
  2. The park should prioritize Tule Elk habitat.
  3. The park should refuse to grant 20-year permits and leases to cattle and dairy ranchers. Ranchers have overstayed their original permit limits already. Long-term leases will set a terrible precedent in favor of private, commercial industry and jeopardize the future of our parks and the health of the ecosystem.
  4.  Absolutely no diversification of ranch operations. Any diversification (such as chicken coops, pigs, sheep, row crops, etc) will only serve to attract more predators like coyotes, foxes, bobcats that will be in conflict with ranch operations and have to be "managed" as well.
  5. The park should revoke permits for all cattle and dairy operations and restore the leased land to its original, pre-industry state. The park should prioritize wildlife NOT commercial interests!