7:47 and all is well! by Chris Snyder

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Canon 1DmkIII with Canon 70-200 L f2.8 @f4, ISO 800 and 1/1250.

This bull was letting his voice be heard during the rut in Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The elk were reintroduced more than 10 years ago and have been a success story with almost everyone happy to have them back. They were hunted to extinction in the Smoky Mountains in the 1800’s. Their success story contrasts with the failure of the red wolf reintroduction that was attempted at the same time.

Reintroducing wildlife species is a subject that many folks associate with the wolves of Yellowstone. The reintroduction of any species with have an affect on both the current wildlife and the humans that inhabit a particular habitat.

For wildlife lovers it seems to be a no-brainer. “Bring ’em back” most nature lovers will say. I fall into this category but there is always a counter point. Especially, when livelihoods are at stake. The conflict between the ranchers and the wolves has been well documented. The ranchers have lost livestock and income generated by elk hunters. That a top predator creates a better environmental balance doesn’t carry much weight when you are putting food on the table for your family.

Ironically, elk reintroduction has met with some opposition from farmers who are concerned that the elk will destroy crops and some elk have been shot off of National Park land even though there is not a hunting season for elk in Tennessee or North Carolina.

So is there a solution to the issue of a reintroduced species affecting the livelihoods of people that coexist with?

I think that there are. Common sense rules and laws would allow this coexistence. If a predator is taking livestock then allow the rancher to at least drive the predator away and if the predator continues have a means to remove that animal or animals from the area. note: This is being done out west with the wolves now but wasn’t earlier in the reintroduction. If a farmer is losing crop production due to the grazing of a herbivore allow the farmer to again drive that animal away and if it persists have an avenue for the farmer to get rid of the animal.

But, far better yet, allow innovative minds come up with ways to prevent or reduce the conflict from happening in the first place.

Hi, my name is Chris Snyder and I reside in beautiful Western North Carolina, USA. I have been a swim coach since 1990 and have been selling my photography since 2006. My wife and I are avid mountain bikers and also are very involved in animal rescue. We always have a menagerie of some size and makeup. Most of my images are of nature whether wildlife or landscapes. I hope you enjoy.

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  • Michael Cummings
    Michael Cummingsover 4 years ago

    Excellent capture Chris

  • Thanks Michael. I really appreciate your looking and comment.

    – Chris Snyder

  • brendanscully
    brendanscullyover 4 years ago

    A locomotive with all that muscle….the mountains sure look smokey from here. And I hope the red wolves can return…..after all, people should realise that the wolves are only doing what wolves do, and nothing more.

  • He did win the sparring that I saw that morning. He is a big fella! Lineman! The red wolves didn’t make it due to interaction with coyotes and disease. They are however doing well along the North Carolina coast where there is a natural barrier to the coyotes. They interbreed with them which affects their genetics as far as being pure wolves. I hope to get to see them someday. They are nocturnal and tough to spot.

    – Chris Snyder

  • Tim Harper
    Tim Harperover 4 years ago

    Awesome capture Chris….

  • I really appreciate the comment Tim. Thanks!

    – Chris Snyder

  • (Tallow) Dave  Van de Laar
    (Tallow) Dave ...over 4 years ago

    what a fantastic shot.

  • Thanks Dave!

    – Chris Snyder

  • Ginny York
    Ginny Yorkover 4 years ago

    Fantastic capture Chris! Love the puff of steam you caught. Just like a locomotive. lol I’m sure he is the main man out there. What a beautiful brute! i’m glad to here the Elk are doing well. I am for reintroducing wildlife back into their natural habitiats. They were there before man.

  • Thanks so much Ginny. I agree.

    – Chris Snyder

  • Scott Denny
    Scott Dennyover 4 years ago

    If we were better stewards of the resources God gave us there would be no need for “re-introduction”.

    Nice photo…nice read.

  • Amen.

    – Chris Snyder

  • greenstone
    greenstoneabout 4 years ago

    amazing capture!!!

  • Thanks so much. He was fun to watch!

    – Chris Snyder

  • Gary L   Suddath
    Gary L Suddathabout 4 years ago

    outstanding capture

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