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Tule Elk


Tule elk bulls during the rut bellowing to each other, Tomales Point. Ballpoint pen on paper, field sketch by Laura Cunningham.


I've been observing, sketching, and painting tule elk since the 1980s. California's endemic elk subspecies (Cervus canadensis nannodes), found scattered across the Golden State in preserves, wildlife refuges, and only one National park unit: Point Reyes National Seashore.


The Tomales Point Elk Reserve is one of the best places to observe elk, as In Yellowstone National park, without hunting to make the herds shy. I've spent many happy hours watching the tule elk here during the fall rut, and in the summer fog, sketching them and learning about their behavior and ecology firsthand.


Increasing free-roaming tule elk into the rest of Point Reyes National Seashore would be one of the best things to have happen for Bay Area wildlife viewing. The vast majority of Marin County is private land, dominated by commercial cattle ranching. Having one small park where wildlife roam free for the public to see, is not a bd goal in my opinion.


I have a lot more to say about the elk here, and their interesting behavior, so stay tuned.

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