Red/cyan 3d glasses are needed to view photos in this post.

Back in town again! I thought I’d set up automatic posts while I was away, but apparently that didn’t work out. Anyways… let’s talk about bison.

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Wood Buffalo National Park, on the Alberta/Northwest Territories border, is the size of a small country. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site, and I’ve written about it before.

The park isn’t as dramatic as other world heritage sites- no massive mountains or canyons. The salt springs and lakes are interesting, but the main reason for the park’s inscription is the wildlife.

The park is home to the largest herds of bison, as well as one of the few nesting sites of the endangered whooping crane(no, I didn’t see one- the nesting grounds are well away from any trails) and many more common boreal forest species.

The name of the park is technically a lie- bison aren’t buffalo, but the names are used interchangeably. There are two sub-species of bison in North America, the ‘plains bison’ and the ‘woods bison’.  As the name implies, Wood Buffalo Park used to be the habitat of the woods bison, but turn-of-the-century efforts to save the species (both sub-species were endangered, and there was a very real risk of extinction)resulted in plains bison being introduced to the park. Since then, they have interbred, and most bison in the park are a hybrid of the two species. A few genetically pure herds of wood bison were found in the ’50s and relocated; the sub-species has since prospered, but is not in Wood Buffalo Park.

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Most of the bison close enough for a 3D photo were alone- I assume that they are male, as the adult males are often solitary outside of breeding season.

There are also numerous bears in the park- I saw several black bears, but most ran off before I could get a good photo. Two cubs, however, stayed next to a tree. I think there are some grizzly bears in the park in small numbers, but I never saw one.

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Finally, the beavers. Every beaver I saw was out in the lakes, too distant for a 3D photo. However, near the Peace River, a beaver lodge was near the road. The lodge was high and (relatively) dry- I think the water  for the lodge was mostly  blocked by a beaver dam further up the creek, and the lodge was abandoned.

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It’s hard to get a sense of scale, but I think the lodge was about 3 metres high. Not even close to the size of the world’s largest beaver dam(also located in Wood Buffalo Park), but that structure is… a little harder to reach. Maybe I’ll hire a plane to see it once I get rich… don’t hold your breath.

I’ll probably post some of my 2D wildlife photos from Wood Buffalo National Park in the next couple of days- lots of bird photos and some action photos of the bison.