The direct and immediate threat of shooting elk certainly deserves to be the attention-grabbing subject regarding what's happening in the seashore, but it's important for everyone to understand that it's not just the elk. Businesses operating within the park that depend on the exploitation of the land will always be at odds with wildlife that are trying to live there as well.
Consider that an herbivore, the beautiful Tule elk, is considered a threat to the profits of the ranchers just by eating grass. How do you think things are going to go for predators when the seashore allows the ranchers to bring in more commodity animals, smaller ones, such as pigs, chickens, etc.? Coyotes are screwed. Bobcats are screwed. If there is a mountain lion out there somewhere you might as well say goodbye to it now.
Do you believe that hawks and other birds won't enter the new row crops that are going to be allowed? How about the badgers, deer, and rabbits that will understandably be tempted to partake in such food. Once again, to "protect their bottom line" ranchers will turn to means of battling against the wildlife and it won't end with adding even more ugly barbed wire fences out there. Traps, pesticides, annual culls will follow. If you need an indication of the odds ranchers and wildlife are at, every year, a government agency abusively titled "Wildlife Services" kills millions of native animals every year strictly for the agriculture industry. Remember, elk eating grass is enough of a financial threat to the ranchers that the park service is has been asked to kill them. How about when the wildlife start eating the actual commodities, not just the grass the commodities eat?
But we need look no further than birds to see how ranching affects wildlife. You can ALWAYS see certain species of birds flocking to the feeding bins of the cattle which both alters the natural behavior of the birds while promoting certain species (such as ravens) who then dominate and kill off other species.
The annual silage harvest is proven (through park mandated studies) to have reduced diversity and richness of native bird species in the seashore. How? By mowing down fields where these animals nest each year. Yes, I mean chopping up native animals in harvest blades. I've seen it. It's as bad as it sounds.
So now the park service in their great wisdom is going to allow even more crops to be grown and harvested?
And how about the fact that the amount of cattle manure in Point Reyes has already ranked as one of the most e-coli polluted locations in the nation. Now we're going to add pig manure, chicken manure, and all the byproducts that come with feeding and growing commodity animals and crops?
This national seashore is in for a world of hurt. For those who believe (without evidence I might add) that the legislation intended for ranches to remain in the seashore, do you also believe that the well being of the seashore was to always come second to the profits of the ranches at the expense of the land and wildlife? The ranchers are literally taking a $%@! on this magical seashore and we, the public continue to watch and fit the bill while muttering lies about sustainability and culture.
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