Tule elk (Cervus canadensis nannodes), California’s only endemic elk, were once thought to be extinct. According to the National Park Service, a small population of approximately 30 individuals in the mid-1870’s were discovered by a cattle rancher who set the wheels in motion for their conservation. As of 2012, this number had grown to 22 herds across California numbering 3,900 individuals (NPS).
The Tule Elk Reserve on Tomales Point, within the Point Reyes National Seashore, presents an excellent opportunity to observe and photograph these rare and beautiful animals. This past weekend, my life-long friends and fellow photographers, George and Ed, joined me in exploring the Resere. Arriving just after sunrise, the coastal fog was wafting peacefully across the dew covered grassland, and as the sign for the entrance to the Reserve came into focus, so did the elk!
Moving past the herd we made our way toward the end of the road along Tomales Point, where the old decommissioned cattle ranch, Pierce Point Ranch, sits shrouded in fog and cypress trees.
It was here we had the good fortune to spot a bobcat hunting for gophers, although from far across a canyon to a distant hillside.