I was going to write up large post on this accident when I discovered more details, but instead with just a handful of words and images, I’ll mark the death of two beautiful Plains bison at the hands of humans in a motor vehicle accident on what is usually a safe road in the heart of Elk Island National Park, a place committed to the safety and conservation of wildlife, including both the Plains and Wood Bison.
“I feel like I’m nothing without wildlife. They are the stars. I feel awkward without them.” ~ Bindi Irwin
These aren’t the 2 bison killed yesterday morning, but these images of Plains Bison (bison bison bison) were taken at Elk Island by me in previous years.
Stay safe when in wildlife country, folks. For your sake as well as our wildlife.
See you in the field.
There’s been a missing presence at Elk Island of late, particularly on the Bison Loop. No, it’s not the iconic Plains Bison that rule the Bison Loop, but rather one of their comrades and a tasty treat for the resident coyote: the Richardson’s Ground Squirrel, commonly known as pocket gophers. I’m not saying they’ve completely disappeared, as that scenario is highly unlikely and I’m sure many have seen them, but it wasn’t until a couple weeks ago I actually saw any, and even then, there were only two.
It’s well known even when there are no bison to be found roaming the Bison Loop, you will at least find dozens of these little gophers running around, but this summer, they’ve been hiding out whenever I’m around.
So what’s the deal, I wonder? Am I the only one who is now thinking of reclassifying these little guys to the elusive category to join the ranks with elk and moose? Hmmm … I’m heading back there this week where I intend to answer my own question:
Where in the world did the Elk Island Gophers scurry off to?
See you in the field!
Hmmm, I kind of dropped the ball with documenting the bison rut, 2012. I wasn’t able to escape to my favourite local stomping grounds as often as I had hoped, and I struggled to make the mind to behind the lens connection, but even worse were the bison! Those big buggers threw me for a loop this season and were quiet as the little gophers who inhabit the Bison Loop whenever my presence was made. It’s the first time in 4 years of observing the bison rut I’ve come away with very little. So what’s a photographer to do?
Keep at it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. The good thing is bison give me plenty of observation material throughout the year to keep the wildlife juju flowing and the mind sharp. It’s been a reminder to not let time pass, however, but to get out there and if you don’t do it right the first (or 100th) time, do it again.
In July, I had the incredible, jaw dropping opportunity to interview Moose Peterson for our podcast, Shutter Time. I don’t think I can articulate what it meant to me, and he left me with so much to think about, and I know I need to walk away with lessons from failures; to see them as a tool for an opportunity for growth and then make sure to utilize the tools effectively. It’s how I try to live my day to day life, so why not apply it to photography as well, right? He’s a wise, wise man, folks. Wow.
Here are a couple outtakes from the bison rut, 2010 and 2011, respectively, when things don’t always go as planned. Whoops.
See you in the field!