Кафедра англійської і німецької філології та перекладу імені професора І. В. Корунця

Caught on “Carcass Cam:” Yellowstone’s Wild Wolves and Bears | Expedition Raw

Caught on “Carcass Cam:” Yellowstone’s Wild Wolves and Bears | Expedition Raw

A rotting carcass being picked away at by vultures may not seem like the ideal place for a photoshoot. But if you’re hoping to catch gray wolves and other Yellowstone wildlife on camera, then setting up shop by one of their potential meals is a pretty good bet.
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And that’s exactly how photographer Ronan Donovan found himself hunched over the body of a decomposing bison in the Yellowstone River.

Donovan installed a camera trap (aka carcass cam) near the dead bison, which had drowned during the harsh winter. We recently caught up with Donovan and asked him about his adventures filming some of America’s most iconic predators.

Q: How did you use the dead bison to set up the “carcass cam?”
A: I had to set this camera trap up a little bit more in a non-traditional way. I put it maybe 60 feet away from the carcass, whereas normally camera traps are close and wide, so you can get an intimate image of a wild animal that you can’t get when you have a camera in hand. But I was worried about the wolves being scared away if the camera was too close. I wasn’t worried about the bears being scared of the camera, because they’re not scared of anything.

Q: You had to manhandle the bison carcass a bit to get it into ideal position—was that pretty gross?
A: It’s not so bad in winter because the scent is minimal. Summertime, it’s pretty horrific and the smell really sticks to your clothes. But the changing temperature was a huge issue for the camera. I have 1,500 pictures from this camera of three wolves feeding on this carcass for 45 minutes, and maybe one photo is usable because the whole lens is iced up and looks like you’re looking through a fogged-up window.

Q: Did you find that a little scary to be out there in wild Yellowstone by yourself?
A: It’s just part of the job. Over the two-week period I had the camera trap running, I had to visit it four to five times to refresh batteries and check [memory] cards. One wild card was this giant male grizzly bear that kept visiting this carcass. One of the wolf biologists would be on watch from the road where she could see the whole hillside, because when I would cross the river, I couldn’t see where this bear was. The bear had this routine where it would come down and eat and gorge himself for an hour and then go up over this little hill and take a nap for three, four hours. I would wait for him to leave and then quickly boogie across the river. One time was I just about to start work on the camera trap and I hear on the radio, ‘Bear’s coming! You’ve got to get out of there now!’

Q: It definitely paid off. You got several beautiful photos, but there’s one iconic wolf photo that really stands out.
A: The image is a success, but it’s just a split second of a moment in Yellowstone National Park with a wolf that has been through an incredible saga in his own life. He’s eight years old, he used to be jet black and has turned white over the years as he’s aged. He’s had six different mates that have either been killed by hunters outside the park, or been lost from his pack, or they’ve been killed by a rival pack. 755M is his number, because he has a collar. Some people call him Mr. Blue because he’s got that blue coat. But he represents a really unique aspect of Yellowstone, and the ability to watch a wolf from infancy all the way through its entire life–you can’t do that anywhere else in the world.

This interview has been edited for length and content.

Learn more at http://natgeo.org/grants and see more memorable moments from explorers in the field in our digital series, Expedition Raw.

PRODUCER: Nora Rappaport
EDITORS: Nora Rappaport and Kyle Centers

Caught on “Carcass Cam:” Yellowstone’s Wild Wolves and Bears | Expedition Raw

National Geographic


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