Disappearing Bunnies & Bison Buddies

bison buddy.jpgThis afternoon I opened my front door to a small herd of bison. Needless to say, I had to postpone my walk until they moved to the backyard. Elk and bison paraded up the street today like bored teenagers trying to find some excitement. At one point I had three mule deer resting in my backyard, eight elk walking down my driveway, and a team of bison on the road in front of my house. This is truly an ungulate neighborhood!

bison in backyard.jpgOne animal I am not likely to see is the white-tailed jackrabbit. The Wildlife Conservation Society of the Bronx Zoo just finished a study that concluded the species has disappeared from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The last confirmed sighting in Yellowstone was in 1991.

On a non-wildlife note, last night I attended International Night at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and we dined on a delicious buffet with Mexican, Asian, and Mediterrian themes. I admit to having three helpings, which produced painful results (the event is affectionately and accurately referred to as "trough" night, since everyone consumes enormous amounts of food).

entrance gate parade.jpgAt dinner I had a chance to talk with Doug Smith, the park's wolf biologist. He taught the class Jack Laws and I took last November in Yellowstone; we both considered it an experience of a lifetime to have spent two days watching wolves with Doug--he's an amazing person.

Jack organized an effort to have our class collectively sponsor a radio collar for a wolf though a donation to the Yellowstone Foundation. Doug reported that he just placed our collar on wolf 482, a very large alpha male. What fun to think of 482 running through the wilderness with our collar, inscribed with an Aldo Leopold quote that Jack selected.