Elk Island Prairie Gophers | MIA?

by on September 10, 2012

There’s been a missing presence at Elk Island of late, particularly on the Bison Loop. No, it’s not the iconic Plains Bison that rule the Bison Loop, but rather one of their comrades and a tasty treat for the resident coyote: the Richardson’s Ground Squirrel, commonly known as pocket or prairie gophers. I’m not saying they’ve completely disappeared, as that scenario is highly unlikely and I’m sure many have seen them, but it wasn’t until a couple weeks ago I actually saw any, and even then, there were only two.

It’s well known even when there are no bison to be found roaming the Bison Loop, you will at least find dozens of these little gophers running around, but this summer, they’ve been hiding out whenever I’m around.

So what’s the deal, I wonder? Am I the only one who is now thinking of reclassifying these little guys to the elusive category to join the ranks with elk and moose? Hmmm … I’m heading back there this week where I intend to answer my own question:

Where in the world did the Elk Island Gophers scurry off to?


The erect tail of the praire gopher at Elk Island National Park.


See you in the field!




Photographer. Podcaster on hiatus. Edmonton Oilers lovah. Cinematic Star Wars fan. Fond of wildlife conservation, animal rescue orgs, and all things Johnny Cash. Gen X. 

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