I drove out to Point Reyes a few days go. I saw this cow elk on the D Ranch. I wondered what caused that protrusion of her cheek. Tumor? Abscess? A big wad of cud that would do a baseball player proud? She seemed normal in other respects. She has ear tags so she is an old gal. I think the Park Service last put ear tags on elk in 1999. That would make her 15 or more.
From what I’ve read lately, elk are a controversial subject among some of the ranchers who don’t want them eating any of the food the cows eat in the ranching areas. I don’t know the details, but apparently this controversy has caused the Park Service to start preparing a management plan for the pastoral zone.
I also saw a few bobcats and coyotes that day. Here’s a bobcat that caught a gopher while I was photographing him.
Like the elk, he seemed to qualify as a senior citizen. I got a few photos of him with his mouth open and his lower canines seemed pretty worn down. He was a handsome old guy though.
As you can see, there doesn’t appear to be much of any lower right canine left. For that matter, I don’t see any incisors on the bottom either. This photo doesn’t show the complete area where the lower left canine should be because the lower lip is in the way somewhat, but if it were normal I think we’d see at least the top half of it.