MEDIA RELEASE: Celebrities Support Historic NPS Plan to Free Elk at Point Reyes National Seashore

MEDIA RELEASE: Celebrities Support Historic NPS Plan to Free Elk at Point Reyes National Seashore

POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE, Calif. (Sept. 20, 2023) — Celebrities Lily Tomlin, Jane Wagner and Peter Coyote have responded to the National Park Service’s (NPS) call for public comments by giving their wholehearted support to the NPS’ preferred proposal to remove a lethal fence that entraps rare Tule elk at Point Reyes National Seashore. They join a growing list of artists standing with In Defense of Animals and thousands of members of the public who have written comments calling for the Tule elk to be able to roam freely inside this national park.

On June 9, the NPS made history when it quietly announced its recommendation to dismantle the 3-mile-long, 8-foot-tall fence defining the 2,900-acre Tule Elk Reserve — a complete reversal of a 45-year policy of confining the largest of its three herds of rare, California-native elk. Hundreds of Tule elk are confined at the request of the park’s tenant ranchers who treat elk as a threat to their private cattle operations, which occupy 28,000 acres of the 71,000-acre park.

Comedy duo Lily Tomlin and her wife Jane Wagner said, “The Tule elk have suffered long enough behind a fence that protects business interests — not animals. We stand with In Defense of Animals in urging the National Park Service to remove the deadly fence and allow wild animals to roam free.”

Emmy award-winning narrator, Peter Coyote, has spoken up for the Tule elk with In Defense of Animals on several occasions. He now voices a poignant video PSA calling for the NPS to remove the fence. He says, “I’m Peter Coyote. Please join me, and In Defense of Animals, and tell the Park Service, YES — remove the fence and let the magnificent Tule elk roam free inside Point Reyes National Seashore.”

“I am delighted Lily Tomlin, Jane Wagner and Peter Coyote have written to the National Park Service supporting its proposal to remove the deadly fence which we’ve been working to do for so long,” said Jack Gescheidt, Tule Elk Consultant for In Defense of Animals. “Helping the elk is something everyone can do, and it only takes a minute. The agency needs to hear that we want it to remove the fence, protect Tule elk and wild animals, and remove the park’s polluting and harmful cattle operations, which are why the fence was erected in the first place.”

They join Baywatch star, Alexandra Paul, Oscar-winning director Louie Psihoyos (The Cove, The Game Changers, Racing Extinction), and national sports personality Bonnie-Jill Laflin, who have all joined In Defense of Animals to save the Tule elk.

By restricting the movements of the largest of three Point Reyes herds, the fence has killed hundreds of the elk from starvation and thirst. Their gruesome deaths have made headlines and resulted in public outrage and high-profile campaigns to free the tule elk by many organizations including In Defense of Animals.

In Defense of Animals supporters have already sent over 9,000 comments to the NPS supporting the fence removal, and freeing the Tule elk into the much larger, surrounding park. If freed, the elk would be able roam for more and varied food and water, as well as mate and thrive with the park’s two other (smaller) herds in a national park specifically created in 1962 as a safe haven for wild animals.

The public comment period closes on September 25. Members of the public can make a comment at


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For more information, interviews, or a tour of the Tule Elk Reserve’s infamous 3-mile-long, 8-foot-tall fence, contact Jack Gescheidt. 

Landline (no texts): 415-488-4200



In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 40-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in California, India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.

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