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The Bison of Elk Island National Park

This national park, located 45 minutes east of the city of Edmonton, Alberta is Canada’s first wildlife sanctuary and the only fully fenced-in park Elk island manages conservation recovery herds for plains and wood bison which are sent from here to nature reserves and other parks all around the world.

When I went here yesterday I was lucky to see quite a few, some along the road, and some in pastures and others in the bison loop a loop where you can drive through and stop in pull-off areas.

The ones pictured  here are plains Bison, Wood Bison are on the south side of the highway. Most ponds and lakes are starting to open and I found the crows, Canada geese, hawks, beaver, muskrats. The elk are usually found in the back trails, although can be seen from the main road early in the morning. The bison are best seen in the morning or at dusk but today they were everywhere and can be seen while hiking on the various trails.

This is a cow in the bison loop.

pictures 007-2

Same cow, different angle.pictures 010-2

this cow and her two older calves were either running from the presence of my car or catching up to the herd.pictures 115-2

I often see these three bulls on the road, alone, called the grumpy old men because they will chase cars , so I give them lots of respect and a wide berth.

pictures 105-2

One of the old guys taking off.pictures 106-2

young bull with his winter coat

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If you have ever seen them break into a full gallop , they are fast and can go from 0-30 km within seconds. They can rip a grill off the front of a car or side off a trailer so don’t fence them in  when you stop at the side of the road. I have seen families with very young children get out of their cars and stand in a group only ten feet away taking photos. I stay in my car, unless I am on the trails hiking and use my long lens. I take a couple of photos , then leave.

So come and see them,  and enjoy them and the birds and other creatures on the trails, on the waters. You can camp here for the day or stay a few days. The parks are for the animals and the people to enjoy. It is exciting to see these wild animals, just watch your enthusiasm and keep a safe distance.

Wait until the next post to see the beaver that I saw.It was a stroke of luck.

6 responses

  1. Nice road trip. I never see Bison unless in the zoo, so it must be a thrill to see them roadside. I cannot imagine anyone stupid enough to get out of the car so close though. I even worry when seeing them in theme parks coming up to cars for food. Anything can make them go “wild”. Even a spooked horse is dangerous. I saw a beaver yesterday too. Just swimming along on a sunny day.

    April 15, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    • Always enjoy seeing them, Donna. On you tube there are videos of bison attacking the cars in Yellowstone. It is pretty scary.Agree about horses, too.

      April 15, 2015 at 10:41 pm

  2. What a magnificent sight they are! Would love to come see them one day. Wonderful captures!

    April 15, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting.
      It is always a thrill to see them. Hope to see the babies too.

      April 15, 2015 at 10:37 pm

  3. This makes me very nostalgic for my childhood in Canada.

    April 15, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    • So you got to see them,then? Such an important part of history and a great comeback after being hunted to the point of near extinction.

      April 15, 2015 at 10:43 pm

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