Monday, January 29, 2007
A CONSERVATION SUCCESS STORY
Until 100 years ago, 30-60 million Bison roamed North America's prairies. As railroads were built across the Great Plains, Bison were killed for food, skins, and to deprive the Plains Indians of their primary food source.
On Feb. 13, 1891 - when the species was close to extinction - the first Bison was brought to this park - Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. By 1998, more than 100 calves had been born in the Captive Breeding Program and the total number of Bison in Northern America exceeded 200,000.
These Bison are the largest living animal native to Northern America. They stand more than 6 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh more than a ton. Males are about 1/3 larger than females.
The sheer number of Bison and their migratory habits made them the dominant force in shaping much of our continent's prairie ecosystem.
I was thrilled to be able to see these strangely beautiful Bison at such a close range.
Click on the image to enlarge.