My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Visit to the Bear and Wolf Discovery Center

Kris really wanted to see wolves, and since wolves were mostly up when  and where she wasn't, we decided to visit the Bear and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. The center houses bears, wolfs, and raptors that cannot be released. One bear was 20 when she was removed the second time from a little town. and has lived at the center the last fifteen years.

The bison at the entrance

Cian takes advantage of phone service to call his dad

The day was overcast, but we only had a few raindrops on us at the end of a ranger talk about how a special breed of dog is being used to haze bears away into wild areas and away from people. For their story, click here.  After the ranger told us about the reasons the bears are at the Center and how the Fish and Wildlife Service is hazing bears to keep them from coming near people, a handler called in one of the Karelian dogs.  Then people could line up to go meet her.  One of the things these captive bears do is test garbage cans for bear resistance. There is a display of ones they have tested, mostly all bent up and broken open. They also have displays to show how you need to put up an electric fence around your orchard, garden, and bee hives. 

The bears have to come out  a few at a time to "forage" for food hidden by the staff

They lose some of their food to the waiting ravens

The Center has six wolves in three packs - and different enclosures.  We got the special treat of hearing them howl, due to the really dark day.  You can watch wolves from a cabin with huge glass windows, as well as from other vantage points. 

We think dogs came from wolves that carry a tame gene - maybe like this one

Just sweet

One of the above wolves when it was trotting around. 

The enclosures look quite natural, except for the fence

This was my favorite wolf and he seemed to be leading the howling 

Then we visited the flight pens of several raptors.  All of them were injured or poisoned and cannot live in the wild. I was not able to get a decent picture of a peregrine falcon and there were three eagles in one cage, but here are the rest:

I wish bald eagles had a voice to match their bold and agressive stare

Aquila golden eagle can't fly, but she did a lot of walking around his enclosure.
The golden ruff is the source of their name

Clark, the great horned owl

Nahani, the female rough-legged hawk

And we had to stop twice for bison pictures on the road to West Yellowstone.

Calves are under two months old and still red. 

Think these guys are playmates, not siblings

I find it sad that these magnificant animals cannot live in the wild, but am glad they are helping to educate people and perhaps they are helping others of their species survive in a natural habitat.