We arrived at Elk Island last Wednesday and almost immediately after turning into the park we were greeted by a mama bison nursing her baby.
Elk Island is Canada’s largest completely enclosed national park and is second only to the Serengeti in numbers of hoofed wildlife that call it home. I read that bison, elk, moose, white tailed and mule deer freely roam the park but we only saw bison. Interestingly, despite all my research, I couldn’t find any information on elk in the park which I found strange given the park name!
Here is some information I did find interesting …
In the early 1900’s the Canadian government bought one of the last and largest remaining herds of pure bred plains bison from Montana. Elk Island was a temporary home to nearly 400 bison while fencing was completed at Buffalo Park in Wainwright, Alberta. The fencing was completed in 1909 and 325 bison were relocated to Buffalo National Park, the remaining bison evaded capture and are the ancestors of today’s herd in Elk Island National Park. Parks Canada maintains a herd of around 450 bison and when the numbers are over that amount some bison are sold off to help finance the needs of national parks. Apparently there are around 300 moose and over 500 deer but they must be pretty elusive because during our five-night stay we never saw them.
In 1942 beaver were reintroduced to the park and now number around 1000 and we did see many beaver lodges while hiking around the park.
In 1987 Trumpeter Swans were reintroduced and now mating pair’s return to Elk Island but we didn’t see any of them either 😦
We really enjoyed our time at Elk Island but now we are off to the Prairies for some family time with hubby’s relatives.
Until next time …