I was out at Point Reyes a couple of days ago. Everything is nice and green. It’s been that way for a while, but recent heavy rains will ensure that things stay that way for a while longer. This cow elk looks to be in good health. She has shed most of her light gray winter coat and is now mostly showing her darker, reddish summer coat. I saw one cow which seemed to be suffering from some health problem involving her digestive tract. I’ve seen other elk with the same apparent problem. I assume it’s Johne’s disease which causes severe diarrhea, usually (always?) resulting in death. The disease has been a problem for the Point Reyes elk since the early days of their reintroduction to the Tomales Peninsula. Virtually all ruminants, including the deer, cattle and goats in the Seashore, are susceptible to the disease. Johne’s disease occurs throughout the world. For more information click here.
The bulls are sporting new antlers. This bull is part of the Tomales herd. The Limantour herd seems to start new antler growth earlier than the Tomales herd. In fact, it seems to start everything earlier than the Tomales herd. I’ve heard elk calving has started and I’d bet that it started with the Limantour herd. Newborn are kept hidden by their mothers for a while after birth, but the early-birth ones should start appearing with their mothers soon if they haven’t already.