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Plains Bison, By Gero Heine, Santa Cruz, California, USA

Plains Bison

Bison bison bison

Learn more about Bison bison bison from the Encyclopedia of Life

Encyclopedia of Life

Yellowstone National Park,
Wyoming, USA
By Gero Heine
Santa Cruz, California, USA


Gero Heine

The number of bison in Yellowstone National Park is estimated at nearly 4,000 strong, according to a 2010 survey. The world’s first national park, created in 1872, is home to herds of these animals along with a diversity of wildlife, including grizzly bears, wolves, and elk. Located at an average elevation of 7,500 feet, Yellowstone experiences frigid winters that arrive early and summers that arrive late. The plains bison is well adapted to the extreme climate.

“I was driving toward Lamar Valley on the only open road in Yellowstone, trying to stay ahead of an approaching cold front. This bison was relatively close to the road and its clean appearance caught my attention. The blustery wind of the approaching winter storm kept its weather-beaten coat free of snow and gave it a smooth, brushed look. Seeking to capture an environmental portrait, I observed this individual for a short period of time. The bison turned its head in my direction to get shelter from the wind—and I had my image.” —GH


Canon EOS-1D Mark III; EF 500mm ƒ/4L IS USM lens; 1/160 sec at ƒ/8; ISO 640; hand-held.