Elk Morning


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Morning in Yellowstone National Park. It’s a time to start a new day, and a time to catch up with old friends to see how they are doing. It doesn’t matter that the ones catching up are elk, for they miss their friends, too What struck me about this scene, however, is the calf next to its mother. Standing there, not quite patiently, yet not ready to leave her side, either. Still, it is inquisitive and it can’t wait to get about its day.

Elk are social animals, with the females choosing to live in loose herds, while male elk typically live alone or in small bachelor groups. Being social, they are friendly to each other, and watch out for each other. The morning ritual is an important one, for many reasons.

Yellowstone National Park is home to approximately 20,000 elk in the winter, and up to 30,000 elk in the summer months; its pristine environment and habitat are perfect for the animals that live there. Here, the bends of the tributary that later flows into the Yellowstone River afford a perfect place for water and forage, and, importantly to these elk, a perfect place for the morning meeting.

Shortly after this moment, the calf received its wish, and it was off into the day’s adventure.

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