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The Tule elk (Cervus canadensis nannodes) is a subspecies of elk found only in California, ranging from the grasslands and marshlands of the Central Valley to the grassy hills on the coast.
When Europeans first arrived to the US, an estimated 500,000 tule elk roamed these regions, but by 1870 they were thought to be extirpated. The tule elk faced a genetic bottleneck due to overhunting and and displacement by cattle (habitat loss), with their numbers decreasing to as few as three in the 1870s.
However, in 1874–1875 a single breeding pair was discovered in the tule marshes of Buena Vista Lake in the southern San Joaquin Valley.
Its numbers were severely reduced in the mid-1800s, primarily due to uncontrolled market hunting . All of the estimated 5,700 tule elk present in twenty-two herds across California (as of 2020) were derived from a small remnant herd.
See also[edit | edit source]
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References[edit | edit source]
- Wildlife officials use helicopters to capture 19 tule elk in west Kern for relocation project The Bakersfield Californian
- Tomales Point Tule Elk Reserve Update National Park Service