Feral Cows Are Roaming Public Nature Areas In California And Eating Everything Up

In the area where Sand to Snow National Monument is, there is a herd of about 150 wild cattle roaming around. They are thought to have originated from a herd that grazed on ranch lands about 100 hundred years ago.

Until very recently, it was thought that these cows were living high up in the San Jacinto and San Bernadino mountains. Within the past several years, dozens of these cows have made their way down to lower elevations. The drought in California has caused them to consume a larger amount of the state's flora.

The wild cows are bad because they are destroying the beauty and the stability of the land by consuming too many plants. Plant life holds soil together, which keeps erosion from happening. When too many plants get destroyed, the soil becomes more vulnerable to erosion. The cows are destroying plants and trees that serve as ecosystems and resources for other animals. Imperiled species of animals such as arroyo toads, Nelson's bighorn sheep and the California desert tortoise may be at risk for having their environments changed by the cows. The feces of the cows are also contaminating watersheds. The aesthetic appearance of the land is changing as cows eat and walk through the area.

To make matters worse, there is also a pack of wild pitbulls. The pitbulls are killing and eating wild cows. All of this is happening in just a two-hour's drive from Downtown LA.

These animals are dangerous and should not be approached by humans. The cows can stampede and gore people, and the pit bulls can chase people and tear into skin with sharp teeth. It is difficult to make a decision about what do with them because they are freely crossing into the jurisdictions of different governments and agencies. They are freely roaming around the Morongo Reservation, Wildlands Conservancy's Whitewater Preserve, the Forest Service's San Bernardino National Forrest and Sand to Snow National Monument.

Interestingly, there is a long history of ranch owners letting their cows roam on public lands to graze. Tagging and branding have been used to identify who animals belong to whenever those animals end up in areas that they really shouldn't be. The cows that are wandering around are not branded or tagged.

Many people are in favor of eradicating the cows, though such an idea probably wouldn't appeal to those who are against raising a hand to any animal.