Feral cattle terrorize hikers and devour native plants in a California national monument

Sand to Snow National Monument is a quiet place — its mountainous high desert and cascading streams a draw for those seeking panoramic views, tranquillity and solitude.

But on a recent morning, the serenity was ruined by a menacing bellowing, making it clear passing hikers weren’t alone.

On a ridgeline near a popular stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail, five feral bulls, each the size of a small car, were snorting, stomping and pawing the ground — postures indicating they were ready to charge.

The bulls gazed down on human observers; some lowered their foot-long horns. Then they lumbered on, trampling the trail and devouring native vegetation in one of California’s newest national monuments.

They are part of a herd of at least 150 that’s ripping up this monument and scaring the heck out of folks who cross paths with them. Signs posted at trailheads warn of an additional danger. A pack of pit bulls has been killing and eating the wild cattle in this nature sanctuary.

Jack Thompson, desert regional director of the adjacent Whitewater Preserve, roughly 10 miles northwest of Palm Springs, was only half-kidding when he said, “It’s Jurassic Park just a two-hour drive east of downtown Los Angeles.”

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