Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, December 11, 2018

Contact:  Jeff Miller, (510) 499-9185,

Senate Hears Bill to Shoot or Evict Native Elk From California National Park

WASHINGTON— A Senate subcommittee Wednesday will consider legislation to allow native tule elk to be shot or removed from California’s Point Reyes National Seashore, the only national park where these elk exist.

The bill would enshrine private cattle ranching on 28,000 acres of public lands, sabotaging a public-planning process aimed at evaluating livestock damage and resolving commercial ranching conflicts with native wildlife.

“This despicable bill would ban California’s tule elk from a key portion of the only national park where they live and allow them to be captured or shot,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Our public lands are supposed to provide protection for native wildlife, not the cattle industry. This bill completely ignores the wishes of the public and puts a target on these beautiful animals.”

H.R. 6687, sponsored by Reps. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and Rob Bishop (R-Utah), would require the Interior Department to give 20-year leases for private cattle grazing and would allow the Park Service to shoot or remove tule elk from any ranch lease areas.

More than 7,000 public comments have been submitted in favor of keeping elk on these public lands and removing or scaling back ranching. In 2017 conservationists, ranchers and the Park Service agreed on a four-year plan to address cattle ranching and tule elk conflicts at Point Reyes through a public environmental review process and an amendment to the national seashore’s management plan.

The reintroduction of tule elk to the Point Reyes peninsula has so far been a success story for the conservation of native species and restoring ecosystems, in keeping with the mission of the National Park Service.

The Drakes Beach elk herd, which the legislation aims to remove, is one of two free-roaming herds in the park. Letting elk roam free is critical to their survival. More than half the elk in the Tomales Point herd, which is fenced in on a peninsula to appease ranchers, died during a recent drought because of a lack of water and food.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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