Rocky Mountain Elk

Elk Calf, Yellowstone National Park

newborn elk calf

Newborn Elk Calf along the Madison River

I apologize to those who have followed my blog for not having posted anything for many months.  I’m back and one thing I did during the interim was build a new website (and get rid of two former websites).   Hopefully, I’ve done what it takes for everyone to find this site.   Another thing I did in the interim was go through old images, like this photo of an elk calf, which I photographed in 2014.  When I look at old photos I don’t remember much about some, but others I remember very well.  That’s true with the images of this elk calf.

It was mid-June in Yellowstone and I was driving along the Madison River looking for animals to photograph, especially baby animals.  I don’t regularly drive along the Madison because I don’t have much luck there.  That’s partly because the elk herd in the Firehole/Madison area numbers less than 100 animals.  It’s the only elk herd that stays in the park in the winter and that takes its toll.  The animals are also affected by high fluoride and silica levels in the plants and water which wear their teeth out prematurely.  They live about five years less than elk in the rest of the park, according the the Park Service.

Anyway, it was getting late when I spotted a cow elk with this very small calf.  Another photographer was already there and he told me he saw the mother give birth that morning.  He added that a pair of coyotes had made an attempt to get the calf, but the mother had held them off.  I stayed until I couldn’t see and took this photo well after sunset.  By that time I had developed some connection to the calf and its mother and I decided that even though it was far from where I was staying I would get there by first light the next morning to see if the little one made it through the night.  I got there by first light, but there was no sign of the calf or its mother.  I hope it made it.