North

Bison on 'excursion' venture near Bluefish Dam north of Yellowknife

Bison have been spotted grazing 25 kilometres north of Yellowknife, an area quite far from their usual range.

Biologist says that's further north than bison usually roam, and in unusual terrain to boot

Bison were spotted near the Bluefish hydro site on Friday, about 25 kilometres north of Yellowknife. The plant's operator said it was the first time he had heard of bison being in the area. (Northwest Territories Power Corporation/Facebook)

Bison have been spotted grazing just 25 kilometres north of Yellowknife, an area quite far from their usual roaming range.

The Northwest Territories Power Corporation posted a photo on its Facebook page on Friday of three bison having a feast near the company's Bluefish dam.

"This is a little unusual," said Terry Armstrong, a biologist with the N.W.T.'s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

"Bison will sometimes go on excursions."  

'Bison will sometimes go on excursions,' said Terry Armstrong, a biologist with the N.W.T.’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources. (submitted)

He said bison don't normally travel that far north or east, typically stopping between Behchoko and Yellowknife.

But active fire seasons in the area have created prime conditions for grass and sedges, a small wetland plant that resembles grass, on which bison love to feed.

"Bison like to move into freshly burned areas," Armstrong said. "There's a lot of new vegetation that grows after a burn. Grasses come up where there was forest."

It's not just the distance from home that makes this bison sighting unusual. Armstrong says the rocky Canadian Shield-type terrain around Bluefish isn't something bison tend to favour.

"They'll go into it but then leave pretty quickly," he said.

"I don't expect them to take up residence there and to stay there for a long time."

Bison were spotted at NTPC's Bluefish dam on Friday. A wildlife biologist says the animals don't usually venture that far east or north - normally stopping between Behchoko and Yellowknife. (CBC)

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now