Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's the Survival of the Fittest in Nature.......and even at Yellowstone Park

I have a couple sad stories that have been weighing on my heart though my week in Yellowstone and the week after....

The first is the only wolf we saw up close and the only wolf I have ever photographed. It was following the river and we happened to be right across the river (at a potty stop) when the wolf and the throngs of folks following the wolf came passing through. (There was a long traffic jam following the wolf!) Once we saw him (or her?) in our telephoto lenses, you could tell that the wolf was injured. It had a bad rear leg. Watching it and photographing it made many of us sad, pondering how it can survive in the wild with this injury? Here's the best photo I was able to get with my 18-200mm lens...

and the photo of the same wolf that my friend Heidi Haas Williams took with her 500 mm lens...

And moving on, we spent quite a bit of time watching this mother moose and her baby calf....there was a lot of activity, a lot of park service attention, a lot of vehicles, and we finally heard the story, that the calf had been injured by a bison.

As the story goes....a bison scared off the momma moose, and then the baby kept approaching the bison. After several failed attempts, the bison finally got rough, and injured the poor baby moose. There were some rumors of broken back, broken legs, etc. Some of us were too sad to even photograph the baby moose...but last we heard, the pair were doing fine, and everyone had high hopes that the baby would recover. Nature photographer Dave Cowell was able to get some dramatic photos of the event itself which are online at the Yellowstone Forum.

OK, one final last sad story....all week we were following the activity of Rosie and her two cubs....a black bear momma with two red tags in her ears, therefore the name Rosie. She has two cubs that are around 5 months old (how does one really know this about bears since their cubs are born when they are hibernating???) And we spent lots of hours in the rain watching Rosie & Cubs and got attached!

Well after getting home this week, I have heard some sketchy reports and photos of Rosie and one cub being injured...I read this on a Yellowstone Forum, and there's a Second Post with photos. I guess I got a little attached to those little cubs looking through that big lens for hours!

But as I am sad to see injured animals, obviously there is need to keep Yellowstone wild and not do a lot of human intervention. Unfortunate for Rosie and cubs, but I realize the harm us humans can do when we try to dictate what should happen in the animal world.

I have certainly learned a lot about photography, wildlife, and our planet through this great Wildlife Workshop! Those are the best vacations when you get away, spend lots of time in the great outdoors, have lots of laughs with friends, and learn something at the same time!

Rosie & Cub
Rosie's Two Cubs

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