Bison on 'excursion' venture near Bluefish Dam north of Yellowknife
Biologist says that's further north than bison usually roam, and in unusual terrain to boot
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."
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."