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Cervus canadensis nannodes
As many as half a million Tule Elk used to graze the plains of California, endemic to the state. But they were thought to be hunted to extinction in 1870 during the gold rush. Dedicated conservationists brought them back after discovering only a single breeding pair. Just a few hundred remain in Point Reyes and yet they are still allowed to be hunted and have no conservation status, (i.e. Threatened, Endangered). Barely over 4,000 individuals exist across all of California. It was amazing to see these bachelors spar with each other in the protected lands of Tomales Point at golden sunset. They took turns shoving like-sized antlers together as the others watched. When it comes time to fight for females, know your enemy. Losing one of these fights, even in sparring, may mean you never get to breed... ever.