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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Return of the Bison

Return of the Bison

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Tuesday, October 15, 2019/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, video, sustainability, environment, adventure

                       Bison restored to Badlands National Park, 10-11-2019 (credit: World Wildlife Fund)

Bison once roamed the prairies of Canada and the USA in the tens of millions. By the late 19th Century only a couple thousand of the beasts remained in Yellowstone National Park and a few kept in zoos. Bison have now made a strong comeback from the dedicated efforts of conservation biologists, Native American tribes, and ranchers raising the animals for commercial markets.

A new release of more than 1000 animals has just occurred in Badlands National Park to celebrate the park opening 22,000 acres of Park rangelands to the animals. The wildlife restoration effort was facilitated by the World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, and other conservation organizations. The Bison now have 80,000 acres to graze once again since the last one was killed in 1870.

Releasing wolves into Yellowstone National Park initiated a cascade of effects rebalancing the entire ecosystem by returning this keystone species. It will be equally interesting to watch the effects of restoring bison, another keystone species, onto their original prairie landscapes.



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