Tag Archives: ヘラジカ

ヘラジカ Moose

朝4時ごろに目が覚めていました。アラスカの夏は午前3時にはすでに明るくなっています。まだ誰も起きていないシンとした朝、カメラを持って朝食前の散歩に出かけました。 I was already awake at 4 o’clock in the morning. Alaska’s summer days start early. It was already bright enough at 3 o’clock to see things outside. So we went out into the very quiet morning air for a walk with our cameras.

バンちゃんが道路脇にまだ新鮮な足跡を見つけました。これは、もしかして例のあの動物かもしれない。 Banchan found a few sets of fresh animal tracks. We thought it could belong to the animal we want to see.

足跡を辿っていくと、やっぱり、いました。ヘラジカのお母さんと子供。 We followed them, and indeed, we found a mother moose and her cub.

明るいとはいえ、カメラの感度を上げるほど明るくはなく、ISOを3200に上げても1/6秒のスピードです。カメラ調整している時間はありません。またしても絶好のチャンスなのに準備ができてなくてもどかしさを感じてました。 It was already bright enough to see outside but not enough for the camera’s sensitivity. I quickly raised ISO to 3200 but the shutter speed was still 1/6 of a second. I didn’t have time to adjust my camera. I regretted so much why I didn’t prepare for such a great opportunity.

ビデオならなんとかなるかと、祈る思いで撮ったのが以下です。画面がすごくブレてます。そんな質の悪いビデオをシェアするのは心苦しいのですが、雰囲気はやはりビデオじゃないとわからないので載せておきます。 So, I gave up pictures, and switched to video mode hoping that it was somewhat better. I made the video below by combining 4 videos out of 6 I had taken. Unfortunately, the quality is so bad because I couldn’t hold my camera still while walking backwards. But I still think you can see the feeling of the scene.

野生動物との距離の取り方のポスターを見つけました。 By the way, this is a poster talking about “social distance”.

これによると、ヘラジカとは100mぐらい距離を置かなければいけないそうです。私たちの場合は、気がついた時にはすでに30mぐらいの距離でした。 It says that we need 300 ft with a moose to be safe. For us, it was probably 100 ft when we found them.

しかも、子供が私たちに興味を持ち、どんどん近づいてきました。お母さんが横の方でしっかり状況を見つめています。 On top of that, the cub thought we were interesting objects, so he kept coming towards us. We knew his mom was looking at the situation carefully.

すっごくヤバイ。 It was, indeed, a very very dangerous situation.

それでも、静かに、静かに後退りを繰り返しながら撮影しました。途中、お母さんにやめなさいと言われたのかもしれません。諦めて林の中に入っていきました。ホッとしました。野生動物を見たいけど、こんな至近距離での出会いはしたくない。 We tried to keep ourselves calm, and walked backwards slowly and quietly while I video taped occasionally. At one point, the cub stopped coming towards us. Maybe his mom told him “that’s enough.” Then he went into bushes. What a relief I felt then. I want to have wildlife encounters, but not this close.

ところがその後、ホテルへの帰り道、道路で再び出会ってしまいました。お母さんが私たちを一喝するように見つめ、歩き去っていったのを見て再び安堵しました。 On the way back to our hotel, we met them again on the paved road. The mother moose looked at us as if she was scolding at us. “Leave us alone!” Then they went away. What a relief, yet again.

ドキドキ興奮する、アラスカの早朝でした。 It was a truly exciting morning in Alaska.

ヘラジカの置き土産 Gifts From Moose

デナリの空気を吸いたくて、トリプルレイクスの山道を10kmほど歩きました。水色マーカーの部分です。 We hiked 6.1 miles on Triple Lakes trail because we wanted to feel the Denali air. See the light blue highlighted line in the map below.

ハインズクリークを超えて、ライリークリーク沿いに歩きました。 We crossed Hines Creek, and walked along Riley Creek.

この山道から私たちの乗ったアラスカ鉄道の列車も見えました。 We could see the Alaska railway train from this trail.

道端には馴染みの花や初めて見る花、とにかく緑が生い茂っていて楽しいひとときでした。 We enjoyed it so much seeing so many familiar flowers as well as unknown flowers among the green plants.

初めて見た珍しい植物は、ノーザングラウンドコーンです。地面から松ぼっくりがニョキっと生えているかの様です。 The unique plant that I had never seen before was the Northern Groundcone. It looks like pinecones coming out from ground.

そしてこちらは・・・卵? And this one… eggs?

ここにも。And they were here, too.

動物の置き土産、フンだという事はわかっていました。ヘラジカのものだと知り、興味深く観察しました。 We knew they were animal droppings. But we observed more carefully after we realized they were from Moose.

あ、ここにもあった! Wow, I found them here, too.

というのはウソで、アラスカ土産に最適、ピーナッツ入りのチョコボールでした。 Just kidding. They are chocolate covered peanuts, and a perfect souvenir from Alaska.

最後の目 The Last Eye

さあ、最後の目です。この目には帰り道、ワイオミング州の道路沿いで出会いました。Right! This is the last eye. Eye #6. We met this eye at the side of the road in Wyoming on the way back home.

北アメリカの陸上動物の中で一番の俊足と言えば、プロングホーンだという事をご存知ですか?時速80キロで走ることができると言われています。ピューマやボブキャットなどから逃げ切るために必要なスピードなんですね。6番目の目はプロングホーンでした。 Do you know that the fastest land animal in North America is the Pronghorn? It’s known that they can run over 55 mph. It’s also said that it is necessary for them to outrun Puma, Bobcat, etc. with such great speed. The #6 eye was a pronghorn’s eye.

プロングホーンのメスにも角が生えてくるようですが、大きくならないし枝分かれもしないようです。このプロングホーンは多分オスなんじゃないかと思うんです。なぜならまだ小さいですが、抜け落ちたツノの一部がまだ残っているように見えるから。(自信無いけど)Both male and female pronghorns have horns, but female horns won’t grow big, and won’t branch out like male horns. I think the pronghorn in the picture below is male because I see a tiny bit of horn remaining from the previous horn that fell off. (I have zero confidence in this though. hahaha)

こちらはメスのプロングホーン。角が小さいこともそうですが、なんと言っても乳房が見えてますからね。This one, on the other hand, I know is a female pronghorn. It’s because the horns are so tiny and I can see the swelled udder.

こっちはお母さんの後をついて歩いてる子供。 This is a cub following its mom.

プロングホーンの角は毎年ぽろりと抜け落ちるそうです。その意味ではシカの仲間のようでもありますが、なんと、抜けた後もちゃんと小さい角が残るので違うんですね。(詳しい解説はこちら)でも、角が全く抜け落ちない牛やヤギとも違う。プロングホーンの角は面白いです。 Pronghorns shed their horns and regrow them annually. From that sense, they are like the deer family, but the amazing thing is that they keep small horns even after shedding their horns. So, they keep horns like the cow family, but they also shed horns like the deer family. Isn’t it interesting? (Read the detailed description on this page.)

そこで、今回の旅で出会った角のある動物について調べてみました。 It is so interesting that I reviewed the land animals with horns or antlers that we met during the trip.


Basic fact: The horned/antler animals are mainly grouped into the cow family, and the deer family. The horns of the cow family stays on their head, and both male and female have horns. On the other hand, the antlers of deer family species fall off and regrow annually, and only the male has antlers.


Mountain Goat: This species is in the cow family, so the horns stay on their heads, and both male and female have horns. The tip of the horns are black and shiny. I wonder if they will become darker as they age. In any case, I am very happy seeing them during this trip.


Bighorn sheep: This species is also in the cow family, so the horns stay on their head, and both male and female have horns. The ram in the picture is from Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. A growth ring is created annually on the horn, you can estimate the age of the bighorn ram.


Moose: This species is in the deer family, so only the male grows antlers, and annually sheds and regrows them. It will be my next challenge to see a bull moose.


Summary: By observing the horns, we could understand that the pronghorn is quite a unique horned animal. The scientific classification is, Antilocapridae family, Antilocaprinae subfamily, Antilocaprini tribe, Antilocapra americana. We can see them in Wyoming these days, but they nearly went extinct at one time in the past because of overhunting and land use changes. But fortunately the population recovered due to the work of many people.


Note: The horns of giraffe and rhinoceros are also very unique, but I will leave it for you as a joy of research.