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[自然百科] 【整理】2008-03-25 Newborns of Jasper 贾斯珀国家公园的新生儿

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Spring doesn’t come easily to the Canadian Rockies. Winter never leaves without a fight. On mountainsides high above the valleys, bighorn sheep gear up for an age-old ritual. These males are bachelor rams. They are roughhousing now. But in the fall, these clashes will turn deadly serious, when they compete for the attention of ewes. But now, it’s spring, and ewes are focusing their attention on other matters.

Lambs spend their first months close to their mothers. For sheep, survival depends on quickness and agility. Throughout their lives, they’ll be closely watched by predators. These little lambs must learn to run first and ask questions later. This time evading a lone wolf is pretty easy, especially on a craggy mountainside. But sheep have many enemies out here.

Jasper is in full fragrant bloom. Food is plentiful and new life is emerging. Aspen trees cast their seeds to the wind. An elk gives birth in a forest hideaway. For the next few days, the mother will conceal her calf even from other elk. She must chase off last year’s daughter, so she can nurse this year’s son.

Elk aren’t the only one with new arrivals. Coyote pups are already up and about. Their father guards them while their mother is out on a hunt. Energy and curiosity are these pups’ greatest assets. There will be much to learn in coming months. Fortunately for them, coyotes are doting parents.

But having a family of happy rambunctious coyotes so near doesn’t sit well with the mother ewe. They are meat-eaters and make her nervous. After all, she has a new born to look after. The pups dive back into the den she approaches. Their father remains outside, holding the high ground. Remarkably, the elk takes the offensive, but she can’t get at the pint-sized pups. They are safe in their den. When the coyote mother unexpectedly returns, the stalemate is broken. It’s time to move on. The neighborhood has gone to the dogs.
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