About MeI live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where I explore the deeper reaches of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem while also trying to raise awareness about light pollution and the importance of dark skies through photography and video.
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Category Archives: Wildlife
During my trip to the southwestern United States this past fall, one of my destinations was Chaco Culture National Historic Park, or more commonly known as, Chaco Canyon. Turning off the highway overrun these days with traffic for the oil and gas industry, I began the winding journey down the back roads to Chaco Canyon, only to find 15 miles in that the campground was full. An amazing thing about Chaco Canyon is that it’s in the middle of nowhere. A downside to Chaco Canyon is that it’s in the middle of nowhere. The nearest lodging, assuming I wanted to go that route, was over two hours away and I wasn’t quite sure just how far back the oil industry was destroying our beautiful BLM lands, so camping anywhere nearby was out of the question. I pulled out my atlas and found two national monuments still in northwestern New Mexico, but neither of them terribly close, either being a good bet for camping though.
This past summer, much of my inspiration shifted from the Jackson Hole valley floor to much higher elevations found up in the mountains. While the higher elevations had always been significant motivation for me, this past season saw that motivation become much more pronounced, weening my inspiration away from the roadsides. In addition, there’s also my upcoming TEDxJacksonHole talk and completing my short film on light pollution, both of which demanded a large chunk of my time, forcing me to drastically reduce my work with Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris. However, though my days are limited at the moment, I had a recent trip with exceptional opportunities found throughout the valley with a delightful pair of other photographers.
We were off well before sunrise in a downpour that showed no signs of letting up.
George Monbiot speaks about the rewilding process at a TED conference and why it is so essential that we begin to take it seriously.
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In a brilliantly fantastic TED talk, George Monbiot breaks down the trophic cascade from the gray wolf and even takes it a step further as he cites other examples of ecosystems where similar effects have been lost. He then proceeds to discuss the "rewilding" process, a process by which we follow the Yellowstone wolf example and begin to reestablish ecosystems that have long since been decimated. One way or another, however, nature will once and for all force us into learning to coexist with it.
During the last century, humanity has had an extraordinary leap in its awareness and consciousness. Long gone are the days where it was standard practice to kill animals that got in your way or even met you on the trail.
The gray wolf, 755M, licks his mouth after eating on a carcass in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park.
On Monday, August 19 of 2013, shocking news was reported that the Pine Creek Pack of wolves was held responsible for the deaths of 176 domestic sheep the weekend prior. The reports coming out were startling, and rightfully so. It wound up becoming the largest death of sheep in Idaho’s history. Most news outlets reported that the wolves caused it and it was case closed. Consequently, 13 wolves in the pack, nine of them pups, were put to death and the pileup was left out to lure in other predators to their death as well. The incident may be true and it may not be. The fact is there is a deeper story underneath the surface that begs to be explored.
The Canyon Wolf Pack alpha pair lead their pups along a ridge near Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park.
I won’t waste your time in discussing political agendas and biases for and against the gray wolf. We all know that it is a controversial species that many feel is not at all welcome in nature, despite the fact that it has been an integral part of that very nature for tens of thousands of years. Virtually all of the biases against these mystical creatures comes from a simple misunderstanding of their very nature. In previous posts, I have discussed at length why more wolves are needed across the country and dissected the bias from both standpoints. One key factor I have never laid out in full detail, however, is the trophic cascade of events that happens once wolves reestablish a healthy presence in their chosen environment.
A video compilation of Grizzly Bear #610 in the final spring with her first set of grizzly bear cubs.
Grizzly Bear #610 of Grand Teton National Park began her life in the shadow of her already beloved mother, #399. Between 2006 and 2008, she was merely referred to as, "one of the cubs." Having achieved enormous adoration from Jackson Hole, Wyoming and well beyond, the inevitable time came for #399 to ween off her cubs and let them go live on their own.
The male of the group, #587, was last seen living well in the Gros Ventre Mountains, east of Jackson Hole. #615 and #610 were the two females working together to aid in their survival that following summer and fall. #615 however was shot that fall by a hunter, leaving #610 on her own. That following spring, #610 was seen frequenting many of the same areas her mother had taught her.