Twenty dedicated activists recently risked arrest to deliver desperately needed drinking water to the Tule elk reserve at Point Reyes National Seashore in California, where at least 18 animals died during a drought earlier this year because of a fence for private ranching that prevents them from reaching seasonal water sources.

Defying National Park Service (NPS) orders, the wildlife protectors hauled 150 gallons of water into the reserve in the middle of the night. Activists had tried to bring drinking troughs to the area previously, but the NPS removed them, leaving the activists no choice but to embark on a clandestine operation to ensure the elks’ wellbeing.

“The actions of the National Park Service speak loud and clear: private ranching business is favored over public opinion and the lives of native wild animals at Point Reyes National Seashore,” Fleur Dawes of In Defense of Animals said in a press release. “Removing water from thirsty and dying rare Tule elk is despicable.”

The harrowing operation to bring these innocent animals some relief was captured on the video above. Meanwhile, activists are fighting to have the reserve’s life-threatening enclosure removed and to stop officials from supporting a plan to slaughter the area’s elk.

Lady Freethinker applauds the efforts of these brave activists and stands in solidarity with their call to stop the proposed slaughter of defenseless Tule elk.