tule-elk

Are you and your friends excited for the weekend? Whatever you’re up to, we hope you have as much fun as these elk at Tule Elk San Luis National Wildlife Refuge. Once estimated to have a population of less than 30 individuals, these unique California Tule elk now number more than 4,000. See them – and other terrific wildlife – just two hours outside of San Francisco. Photo by Lee Eastman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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I joined @sealinefox on a Tule Elk Tracking trip, and we saw over 200 Tule Elk!
I learned so much, starting with the fact that Tule Elk are a subspecies of elk found only in California which were thought to have been hunted to extinction in the 1870s. A single breeding pair was discovered in the tule marshes of the San Joaquin Valley and conservation measures were implemented to protect the them. Today, there are over 4,000 wild Tule Elk in California, yet most of the public are still unaware of their existence.

This is Laguna Seca Wetland, the largest freshwater wetland in Santa Clara County. It is the only remaining wildlife corridor that connects Mt. Hamilton to the Diablo Range.

However, it is largely owned by developers who want to dump 10 feet of dirt and build over 35,000 homes on it (uh.. who wants their home built on a wetland?).

It is home to endangered amphibian species such as the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) and the California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii). It is also a crucial stopover for migrating waterfowl, and one of the few landscapes left to roam by the protected Tule Elk.

“Potential restoration of Laguna Seca provides an unusual opportunity to restore natural wetland functions and a diverse, large, natural, valley floor wetland. Successful wetland restoration at Laguna Seca could support a wide range of threatened species, including rare plants, amphibians, and water birds.” (x)