POINT REYES, Calif. -- More than 250 tule elk died inside a fenced area at a Northern California seashore over a two-year period and a lack of water is possibly the cause.
The National Park Service on Thursday confirmed the elk died inside a fenced elk preserve at California's Point Reyes National Seashore from 2012 to 2014.
During the same period, free-roaming Point Reyes elk herds with more access to water increased by nearly a third.
The elk are a success story in saving one of North America's larger species, after hunting drove the animals almost to extinction in the 19th century.
Authorities reintroduced tule elk to the coast decades ago.
Marin County dairy farmers, however, say the elk are competing with their cattle for forage. They are urging the park service to remove dozens of elk and fence off their habitat.
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250 native elk die inside fenced area at California seashore