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Monday, March 01, 2010

Elk Calf (Cervus canadensis nelsoni)

It may be March, but spring calving season for elk is just around the corner. Below a calf at about 9 months old can easily keep up with a bull and adult cow, even in snow. The cow is very likely carrying a calf.
running elk
running elk (cervus canadensis nelsoni) on zumwalt prairie, winter.

As June approaches, the cow will find a secluded place to give birth. The calf is essentially helpless for the first 24 hours.

elk calf
newborn elk calf in spring (cervus canadensis nelsoni)

baby elk
newborn elk calf attempting to hide in the grass (cervus canadensis nelsoni)
Surviving the first year is no easy feat. Disease, injury and predation take their toll. Below a 9 month old calf is examined by biologist Scott Findholdt, after it was killed by a cougar.

cougar killed elk
cougar killed yearling elk calf

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Portland, Oregon, United States
Husband, Father, Student Of Natural History, Photographer