LANA CORTESE, ecologist
There are around 3,000 bison here, in five subpopulations: in the delta, southeast of the Peace River, including around Lake Claire; Garden River, in the southwest; Hay Camp, which is east-central; Little Buffalo, in the northeast; and Nyarling, in the northwest. In the past, the population was stable and increasing, but the results of the 2014 survey indicate a decline from 2009. A number of things could be influencing the population, including habitat change, predation and changing climate, and we have plans for studies to try to identify the cause. One fascinating thing about the bison is their relationship with wolves. This is one of the only places in the world where a predator-prey relationship between the two has persisted through time, which demonstrates the truly wild nature of the ecosystems and species here.
Clockwise from this image: a bison on the park’s salt plains; a bison at rest among the trees; two whooping cranes in their nesting habitat; a close-up of the same two birds.