A Magical Elk Moment on the Beach


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This was the sight we woke up to a couple of mornings ago, off the beaten track in Mendocino County: 

My video shows the five-strong bachelor group of Roosevelt elk at dawn last Thursday on Usal Beach, in the Sinkyone Wilderness, south of Shelter Cove. In a couple of months,  they'll be putting their attack skills to serious use during the rutting season, when combat sometimes results in injury (or even death) as they complete for mating privileges.

The comeback of Roosevelt elk is a conservation success story. Herds once roamed between San Francisco Bay and Vancouver Island, but they were down to a few hundred in the 1920s, when protection from hunting was initiated. There are now well over 1,000 in Northern California, Oregon and Washington.


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