The California Department of Fish and Wildlife plucked dozens of Tule Elk to help ease overcrowding in the San Luis Wildlife Refuge.
California Tule Elk are the smallest subspecies of elk in the world. They range from 300 to 800 pounds, not an easy task for relocation.
They were once believed to be extinct. But, in the 1870’s, a small heard of them was found on a private ranch, so they were placed in a captive environment to promote reproduction. Today, descendent from that heard are split into two captive environments one in Bakersfield, the other in the San Luis Wildlife Refuge.
Experts tell me the main reason the Tule Elk were transported out of that refuge was because their were just too many there. Search teams scouted the elk from the air releasing “net guns” to catch them. They captured 79 elk, most are female and young elk. Biologists say it’s because they want to introduce more breeding females into the wilderness. Once the captured elk were transported out of the area, they were taken to a base camp were biologists, veterinarians and volunteers tested them. The elk were then driven about 200 miles to their new location in the wild.
Wildlife experts say there are currently about 6,000 Tule Elk across California.