2014 Harbor Seal Pupping Season Closures
From March 1 through June 30, the park implements closures of certain Tomales Bay beaches and Drakes Estero to water-based recreation to protect harbor seals during the pupping season. Please avoid disturbing seals to ensure a successful pupping season. More »
2014 Winter Shuttle Bus Operations Have Ended
March 30, 2014, was the last day for the 2014 Winter Shuttle Bus System. Sir Francis Drake Blvd. is open daily from now through late December 2014. More »
Operational Changes Took Effect on May 1, 2013
The Lighthouse Visitor Center is now only open Fridays through Mondays; closed Tuesdays through Thursdays, including Thanksgiving. The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center is open on weekends and holidays when shuttles are operating. More »
To treat or not to treat?
Most diseases are a natural part of the ecosystems in which wild animals live. The majority of the organisms that cause disease—viruses, parasites, and bacteria—evolved over thousands of years, alongside the birds, mammals, fish and plants you see in the Seashore. Diseases act as important regulators of wildlife and plant populations, often impacting species more when populations are high and resources (food, water, minerals, shelter and space) are relatively scarce. If not for diseases, overpopulation of wildlife and depletion of resources would be major problems in our parks.
As such, the National Park Service does not treat native species that are sick or diseased, unless they pose a safety hazard to people, pets or livestock, or unless the disease is considered to be caused by humans. For example, a harbor seal that had become tangled in plastic netting might be captured, treated and released, whereas a tule elk with a skin wound resulting from sparring during the rut would likely not. In this way, natural selection—as Charles Darwin described it, "the survival of the fittest"—is protected in our native national park ecosystems.
The diseases listed below are of special concern for park biologists, mainly because they are not endemic and/or natural, and were brought into our native wildlife and plant populations as a result of man’s activities.
For more information, visit the University of Wisconsin — School of Veterinary Medicine's Johnes' Information Center FAQs page.
West Nile Virus
For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's West Nile Virus page.
Domoic Acid Toxicity
Point Reyes National Seashore is critical habitat for a number of sea mammal species, including whales and pinnipeds. The Seashore is a member of the California Marine Mammal Stranding Network, a group of governmental agencies, non-profit and academic institutions that cooperate to study and respond to marine mammal strandings. Sick or dead marine mammals that wash up on Seashore beaches are collected by Network staff and transported to the Marine Mammal Center (MMC) in Sausalito for treatment or post-mortem examination.
For more information, visit the Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute's Domoic Acid Information and History page.
What to Do If You See Injured or Sick Wildlife
Did You Know?
According to a 2009 report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, climate change will likely lead to an increase in extreme weather in the USA. Fortunately, there is still time to limit climate change by reducing emissions of heat-trapping pollution and taking other actions. More...