The Lone Bison

The great windswept hills, valleys and plains of the Prairies. The endless open sky. On a moonless summer night the stars are uncountable. On a cloudy winter day, the ground and sky become one. The Canadian Prairies have a beauty unlike any other.

Long ago, millions of bison roamed the Prairies. Today their loss is felt on the edges of aspen forests, where the native but invasive tree takes over the grasslands with nothing to stop them. Bison and grassfires were the only natural forces that kept aspen forests from taking over the grasslands. What little is left of that unique and endangered ecosystem would be lost if not carefully managed today.

While searching for Bison in Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan, one of the few true Prairie preserves in Canada, we discovered a lone bison walking across the empty landscape. It wasn’t wandering, but seemed to be on a mission. It had a destination, but what was it? There were no other bison in sight. What could possess a herd animal, no matter how large and dangerous, to travel so far from the herd, so distant from safety? Was it injured? Sick? Outcast?

None of these. He just needed to scratch his balls.

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