Target: National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis
Goal: Reject requests to drive a vulnerable elk species out of a national park for livestock profits
Ranchers who are leasing land from the Point Reyes National Seashore have been pressuring the National Park Service to either remove the once critically endangered tule elk from its natural habitat or build restrictive and disruptive fences to keep the elk from grazing on the borrowed land. These elk nearly went extinct from human expansion and over-hunting, with populations as low as 28 in 1895. Since then, they’ve rebounded to about 3,900, but still require protection to prevent population loss. Driving them out of a national park clearly runs counter to that goal.
Tule elk are considered to be an essential part of the ecosystem around Point Reyes, and their removal would not only disrupt this naturally free-roaming species, but the daily lives of other animal species as well. The ranchers are upset that the elk are grazing on land that they claim belongs to them, even though it’s only been temporarily leased. They’ve even gone so far as to call the elk species “invasive.” An invasive species is one that is imported from another area and multiplies without a natural predator. Point Reyes National Seashore is the tule elk’s native habitat – the invaders are the ranchers and their cattle.
Allowing these selfish ranchers to have their way will almost certainly disrupt the population of the already threatened tule elk as well as the other species that live in harmony with these gentle grazers. Sign this petition to demand that the National Park Service reject any request to have the tule elk removed or to have fences that would restrict their movement built on the land that they’ve always called home.
Dear Director Jarvis,
It’s come to my attention that ranchers who are leasing land from the Point Reyes National Seashore are petitioning the National Park Service to either drive the tule elk out of the park or put up fences that would keep them from roaming naturally. The tule elk was nearly driven to extinction by disruptive human activity, and either of these actions could easily send their numbers into a downward spiral.
As part of a natural ecosystem, the tule elk are very important for keeping the environment of the Point Reyes National Seashore area in balance. This park is also home to a number of endangered species, and disruptions such as fences or the complete removal of the elk could have devastating effects on these animals in addition to the delicate tule elk population. These ranchers are simply leasing the land from the park, and they have no right to push out a native species just because it inconveniences the cattle they’ve brought in. Their profits are not more important than the protection of multiple endangered species.
I urge you not to cave to pressure from special interests and to reject demands from the ranchers in question to tamper with the habitat of the tule elk. Your responsibility is to protect the ecosystem of the national parks in the U.S., not to ensure that greedy ranchers can make more money.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Shravans14 via Wikimedia Commons