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for people who care about the West

Photos that trace migrations through Yellowstone

Ungulates overcome highways, rivers and other barriers while roaming the region.


Pronghorn, mule deer, elk, bison, moose, bighorn sheep: All of these ungulates migrate seasonally through the landscape surrounding Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. They spend the summer foraging in high-elevation areas, then move to milder, low-elevation regions to survive the winter, all within the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

In Yellowstone Migrations, photojournalist and former wildlife biologist Joe Riis documents the movement of pronghorn, mule deer and elk through the region. His images show the many obstacles the animals face — from fast-moving rivers to fences, highways, homes and other development. Riis, who grew up on the Northern Plains, has spent close to 10 years following the migrations, using motion-activated camera traps to document the animals without disturbing them. “Every step of the way,” writes Wyoming-based author Gretel Ehrlich in the introduction, “we ponder what it will take for humans to exist in this vast territory such that the herds can move through.”

Yellowstone Migrations 
Joe Riis
176 pages, hardcover: $29.95. Mountaineers Books, 2017.