Rugged survivors of the Northern Great Plains, bison were nearly eliminated in the late 19th century due to overhunting. The creatures’ highly profitable, heavy wool hides were fashionable for jackets, and the U.S. government also sanctioned their slaughter as a way to compel Native Americans, who relied on the animals for sustenance, onto reservations. Still listed as a “near threatened” species and considered “ecologically extinct,” bison no longer play a role in prairie biodiversity. But their survival today is due in large part to dedicated, often Indigenous-led regeneration efforts across the plains.

Since prehistoric times, the only place where bison have lived continuously is in what is now Yellowstone National Park. The massive animals, which can weigh up to 2,000 pounds, develop a burly undercoat of coarse fur that protects them from the elements, keeping them warm and comfortable in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. On a week-long camping trip last winter, photographer Drew Simms captured families of bison, along with other critters who frequent the area, in the stunning short film “-37°F in Yellowstone National Park.”

Featuring some of the thousands-strong herd that wanders freely through the expansive park and nearby areas of Montana, Simms observed steaming geysers, sly coyotes, and ice-coated mineral deposits in otherworldly scenes captured during the season when up to 200 inches of snow coats the landscape.

Follow more of Simm’s adventures on his YouTube channel and Instagram. (via The Kid Should See This)

 

A still from a short film of a misty morning at Yellowstone National Park, featuring the silhouette of a bison grazing in the snow near a stream.

All images © Drew Simms

A family of three bison in the snow, their coats covered in frost.

An icy cascade of snow and mineral deposits in orangey, pinkish hues at Yellowstone National Park.

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article In Drew Simms’s Short Film, Yellowstone National Park’s Gentle Giants Hunker Down in Subzero Temperatures appeared first on Colossal.

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