Of Bears and Bugs

Since first grade the Northwest Territories has been my dream destination, and now I am able to check it off of my bucket list along with the other BIObus girls! We are now in Wood Buffalo National Park- a beautiful piece of Canadian wilderness with a wide range of ecosystems such as grasslands, boreal forests, and bogs. Geographically the land is very rich: unique sinkholes, renowned rapids, and even salt plains from prehistoric oceans (which, I might add, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site) litter the park. The majority of the park is actually in Alberta- but to enter the park you have to go to the NWT. Inside the park we have had many great surprises- wood bison and inquisitive black bears are nearly everywhere!

BIOBus crew crossing into the Northwest Territories

As a matter of fact, just yesterday we caught a brown black bear red handed while we went to take down our arthropod traps on the salt plains. Our little culprit decided that our traps were an eyesore to his homeland and trampled over a malaise trap, snapping the poles, crushing one of the bottles and helping himself to some of our alcohol (and insects!). He then went on to take one of our pan traps, devour a pit fall, and resulted in the permanent retirement of our newly made intercept trap. Unfortunately we were unable to snap any shots of the bugger in action- but we did snag a few photos of the remains, which I think just about sums up the size and strength of the guy (or girl).

The malaise trap remains

Despite these setbacks we were able to collect lots of dragonflies, spiders, a range of hymenopterans, and a plethora of annoying dipterans that unfortunately start to dominate the air at this time of year.

Next stop: Jasper National Park in Alberta



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