SAN DIEGO (AP) — Feral cattle in one of California’s newest national monuments have become a nuisance to hikers and local vegetation.

A herd of at least 150 feral bulls are ripping through Sand to Snow National Monument, devouring native plants and scaring people, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The bulls also can transmit diseases to native bighorn sheep, Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep board member Terry Anderson said.

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“They need to be removed — and I’m all for lethal removal,” Anderson said. “They don’t belong here.”

A pack of pit bulls also has been killing and eating wild cattle in this nature sanctuary.

The conflicts have become a local crisis not just because of the wild cattle and dogs, but also because the number of visitors and hikers in the Mojave Preserve and Sand to Snow National Monument has increased since it received federal designation in 2016.

Because of a lack of cellphone service in portions of these canyon lands, it would not be easy to summon help in the event of a stampede or goring.

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Conservation groups including the Pacific Crest Trail Association are calling on federal land managers to take action.

The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management said it plans in March to dispatch a team of federal land managers, biologists and representatives of the nearby Morongo Band of Mission Indians reservation to come up with a strategy and funds to eliminate the unbranded cattle and collarless dogs.

But the process could take months.

California Fish and Wildlife authorities were unsuccessful in an attempt this year to lure the dogs into traps baited with food.

 


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