Death Traps and Home Ranges
2020's false hope is 2021's death trap
On July 5th, 6th, and 7th of 2021 I witnessed elk on the hills surrounding Central Pond 2 as well as down next to the "pond". This so-called water source is nothing but a mud hole and potential death trap as evidenced by the corpses documented in this same spot last September.
There is nothing there for these elk. Nothing but false hope, disappointment, and potential death. Yet they are still there. What does this tell us?
For starters it lets us know that this fantasy world some have concocted in which all the elk magically find their way to a tiny trough miles away (that they don't even know exists) is exactly that; a naive fantasy providing convenient denial. It is also evidence of the significance of the home ranges of the sub herds, which a prior study shows that each group of elk mostly stick to areas they have apparently designated as "theirs."
Further north in the reserve (continued below)
is "North Pond 2" which has also provided fools a sense of false "health security" for the elk because it didn't go completely bone dry in 2020 (like all the other bodies of water). That may not be true this year. On July 7th of 2021 North Pond 2 appears HALF the size that it did in September of 2020. With record heat waves wrecking the state and no hope of rain for at least 5 months it is likely this stagnant cess pool will also be bone dry.
But before it goes completely dry it too will become a death trap...(continued below)
...it is likely this so-called pond is on its way to being last year's Central Pond 2, the death trap pond. Why wouldn't it? The banks are already difficult to walk through and there appears to be signs of struggle where at least one elk had to drag itself away from the water's edge. Can you imagine? It's like one of those sick Hollywood horror films where the bad guy offers the victim a chance at escape if only they put themselves in harm's way first. Water, albeit disgusting water, awaits these elk if they can only manage to trudge through the mud. Unlike last year, the elk hanging out in the area stayed far from the water's edge.
Let's compare to Central Pond 2 in 2021...(continued below)
Take a moment to observe the details of central Pond 2's status as of July 7th.
Below is video footage showing the proximity of the elk to Central Pond 2 on July 7th. In the first clip I am down in the pond, in the second I am up on the hill.
For comparison below are images of Central Pond 2 on September 25th, 2020
Now let's look at North Pond 2
Believe it or not the above and below images are the same location not even a year separated. Which one looks good to drink from?
Dead Elk Walking
July 7, 2021. Location: North Pond 2 (northern end of the elk reserve)
One relatively healthy male was amongst several unhealthy males and as the healthy male moved among the rest it provided quite the visual comparison. The exposed ribs are obvious, but also notice the pronounced hip and shoulder blades. The rectum is extended, inflamed, and covered in black excrement. The hip area appears collapsed rather than filled out as in the healthy male.
“I can think of no worse way to die. It is prolonged agony, where the elk are presumably hungry all of the time.” - Veterinarian Dr. Amy Allen in her testimony in the lawsuit against Point Reyes National Seashore
Watch the video below to see a healthy male with a diseased male.
Unwary tourists walked past us “happy to see wildlife” even as Mathew P. Kline and I instead observed a very different scene than what the tourists were seeing.
Words from the Pacific Sun article that investigated the necropsies of deceased elk in the reserve came to mind as we watched.
“Three of the necropsied elk were found alive, unable to stand or lift their heads; they expired within hours or were euthanized by gunshot. Before he passed, one young male, a “spike,” was “observed laying down, kicking and unable to right itself.” As with the other emaciated elk, the spike’s muscle, fat and bone marrow were severely atrophied; his body was eating itself. He perished foaming at the mouth and nose. His abdomen was swollen with excess fluid, and he suffered from hepatitis and liver abscesses. Worms were devouring the linings of his lungs, trachea and intestines. He died from starvation and maladies tied to mineral deficiencies and eating poisonous plants.”
"His abdomen was swollen with excess fluid, and he suffered from hepatitis and liver abscesses. Worms were devouring the linings of his lungs, trachea and intestines." - Necropsy report
It is hard not to think of the black waters of the disgusting puddle the elk are forced to drink from as I also look at their blackened backsides, proclaiming the presence of disease the elk may very well have gotten from the water.
#nationalparks #tulelek #starvation #dehydration #poison #disease #elkreserve #pointreyes #pointreyesnationalseashore #deathbydesign #animalabuse #intentionaldeath #pacificsun #inverness #melaniegunn #davepress #craigkenkel
This project is independent and self-funded. The time and financial investment is significant. Support is greatly needed and appreciated.