Yellowstone Migrations

Joe Riis

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem harbors the last great populations of elk, pronghorn antelope, and mule deer. Photographer Joe Riis has spent a decade here, revealing these animals' previously invisible migrations. Each year, these animals face natural challenges and man-made obstacles on their journeys--but Joe's images are galvanizing action in the Yellowstone ecosystem to preserve these fragile, ancient migration routes.

View the Yellowstone Migrations project site. 



About the author / photographer

Joe Riis is a wildlife biologist turned wildlife photojournalist and filmmaker known for his pioneering documentation of animal migrations in the West. He is a Photography Fellow at National Geographic as well as the Wyoming Migration Initiative. Since 2009, he has worked on natural history photography assignments for National Geographic on five continents. His photographs have been exhibited widely and are included in private and public collections worldwide. 


recent successes

  • Volunteers from the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation remove obsolete barbed wire fencing to protect migrating elk and deer. Learn more.

  • A group of diverse stakeholders in Wyoming rallied together to build a freeway overpass to protect pronghorn antelopes during their migrations. Read more & view Joe's photos.

  • Gold Award - Nautilus Book Awards, Animals & Nature category, 2018

  • Silver Award - Independent Publisher Book Awards, Ecology & Nature category, 2018

Select Media

Conservationists, hunters, and policymakers are collaborating to improve conditions for Yellowstone's migrating animals, National Geographic, August 2, 2018

“Simply put, this book is a gem.” Review by Rick Graetz, Crown of the Continent and the Greater Yellowstone Magazine, University of Montana, Winter/Spring 2018

“A beautiful and ambitious illustrated study of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.” Big Sky Journal's book list “Reading the West,” Summer 2018

"Protecting America's Last Great Animal Migrations," Arthur Middleton, New York Times, Feb. 23, 2018




Gretel Ehrlich / Emilene Ostlind / Thomas Lovejoy 

Arthur Middleton / James Prosek



George Storer Foundation

Yellowstone Migration Initiative


upcoming Events

Through August 19: "Invisible Boundaries" exhibit at National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, Wyoming / details here