Alarming Stuff : The sixth mass extinction is on the way ! Thanks to human activities. And the animals are the first to go. Thanks to human activities. Having co-existed with animals for the last one week, reading this is extremely disheartening. I am sure the future generations would look at us and go, ” I can’t believe they did shit like that ! All the science and technology could not put some sense into their heads. ” We lived in perpetual bear scare, because we took away their territorial acreage and hunting zones. It took us lots of years to introduce wolves to Yellowstone. It’s all politics and lobbying. The results give me goosebumps ! I did not get to see wolves this time but heard so many tales for them from the wild life photographers, rangers and naturalists in the park. But let me share some pictures of the incredible animals we did see.
I did see 40+ animals in close range. Keeping these posts succinct is a serious intention, and hence all those animals can be seen on my TUMBLR. I dont claim to be a NatGeo photographer and hence want to keep my million hobby photos to myself and off this blog. I saw fishes spawn, 100s of butterflies in a span of 2 minutes, beavers, dams built by beavers, too many beautiful birds, …. Yellowstone as an ecosystem. Its the biggest one intact in this day and age. Spawning 2.2 million acres.
Forest rangers are incredible humans living good lives, in my book. They live in the wild and protect us / wild life. My policy: if you meet them, talk to them till they no longer want to talk to you. They are the ones with the real stories. And the information. Most of the information I present here is from the books I have been reading or from my conversations with the rangers.
I scared a Bison. I want to scream this from rooftops. But one of those slow motion moments happened when a bison wanked in on me from behind ( 10 feet away). I was sitting by the stream and making noodles. I saw it, it saw me. We both stood still. There was no where for me to run but into the water, but it would have the advantage. I picked the biggest tree to sit under, ruling out climbing it. I froze. And without thinking, I stood up. The animal somehow RAN. Ran like a maniac. I saw people on the other side run into their cars and take pictures of the animal. I looked behind my shoulder for the rest of the day, waiting for animals to show up. I was chatting with a forest ranger, and told him what happened. And told him how offended I was that this big animal was scared of me, a little woman. He rolled his eyes at me and said, “you would be dead and not chatting away if it wasnt scared.” Bisons have this huge range of vision, like a fish eye lens. Their peripheral vision is stronger and they sometimes miss what’s right in front of them when distracted ( grazing ). According to him, the bison did not spot me. And when it did, it couldnt figure out what I was. And hence it ran. Should i be more offended that a bison didn’t think I was human ?
Another powerful lesson. MOTHERS. Most incredible creatures by nature. The way they protect their children is endearing. Example 1: The deer population. The females graze in a different valley from the males. They come together during the mating season. And part ways. The deers endure and flee lots of attacks by animals and human intrusion. But they attack when their babies are in danger. Not just their own. If I were to walk in to their personal space, the females will round me up and try to smash my face by kicking me with their hind legs. Example 2: Bison endure a lot. They are vegetarians by nature. Dont need to attack humans. But try to get close to a calf, and you will be gored. Example 3: Wolves. They are very family oriented animals and stay true to their packs. But when a female has her babies, she finds a cave to hide them. Even from her own pack. Being a mother > family bonds.
There are two kinds of photographers in these places. The ones that drive from place to place and snap some pictures. We saw some very traumatized deers, scared spawning fishes and annoyed bison from how the visitors acted towards them. And then, there are the ones who learn everything they can about the animals and take pictures with respect. Meeting the second kind was life changing for me. There was one man, who knew so many intimate details, that I didn’t know was possible to learn. He told me about how most of the Hayden valley pack wolves had left North. And that one of the wolves from Hayden Valley mated with a wolf from the Lamar Valley. It stayed behind with its 4 pups. You can see them playing at certain hours in certain locations ….. How can all this not evoke great love for the planet ?