Tag Archives: bison

Wood Buffalo National Park

The correct name for the animals is “bison,” but the park’s official name hasn’t been changed yet.

This park was established in 1922 to protect the seriously dwindling bison herds but also became invaluable to protecting the whooping cranes, as well.

At just under 45,000 km², Wood Buffalo is the largest national park in Canada and the second largest in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2013, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada designated it as the world’s largest dark sky preserve to protect the habitat of bats and other night-time animals and also to ensure the visibility of the Aurora Borealis.

There’s lots of hiking and camping, including back country camping sites and many kilometres of day hiking trails available.

Happy Sunday.

Bison Views

I saw a group of bison today.

And a couple of young ones who were play-fighting.

And that white stuff on the ground? Yikes. Last week it was 15C (59F) and sunny, but over the weekend, it started to pour rain, which turned to snow, which turned to rain, and then dropped below freezing. Everything is covered in ice-coated snow that in some places is about a metre thick.

So much for spring, but it was fun to see the bison!

Autumn Bison

The bison have been massing and eating as much as they can. Not that this is unusual; that’s more or less what bison do, but there seems to be an urgency about them that I didn’t note last year.

An elder told me that they are getting ready for a particularly long winter, and that’s why they seem so much more desperate this year.

I took these images from a moving vehicle and so the quality isn’t great, but we didn’t want to stop in the middle of a herd like that. Bison have been known to charge a car or truck, and despite their size, they can move quickly. Many of them (these are wood bison) are 1000 kg (about 2200 pounds), so I really wouldn’t want one headed my way.

Right now, some of them will just stand in the road to take a break from eating, so vehicles will have to stop and wait for them to amble away. On a recent trip, we waited a number of times at a safe distance, one that would allow us a chance to evade a charge. One of the bulls we saw, a massive animal, kept putting his head down and staring at us. We reversed slowly. Sometimes, backing up is the better part of valour, including in our dealings with other humans. 🙂

We eventually got to our destination, but it took longer than usual!

Greetings from the wood bison of Northwest Territories.