The animals have been living there since the 1910s and 1920s when the island’s former owners imported them to provide hunting opportunities on the 52,794 acre off-shore property, then being operated as a cattle ranch. The introduction proved extremely successful, and the island became noted for the trophy animals it produced.
In March 1980, however, Congress established a Channel Islands National Park. In 1986, the Federal Government purchased Santa Rosa Island. The purchase agreement, however, granted the former owners the right to continue ranching and operating a hunting concession for 25 years.
In 1997. however, the National Park and Conservation Association, another litigious self-appointed group of busybodies, sued to end ranching and hunting immediately, claiming that they interfered with public access. The lawsuit resulted in a settlement agreement ending ranching, and stipulating the removal of the elk and deer by 2011.
Hunting is cruel, you see, but exterminating non-native species (who have lived there for a century) is good conservation, California-style.
The National Rifle Association has taken up the fight to save the 1100 animals.