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Unfortunately many bison on various national wildlife refuges are polluted with cattle genes. This program will help eliminate that.

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

2 Responses to USFWS has a "genetics based" approach underway for national wildlife refuge bison to eliminate cattle genes

  1. avatar mike says:

    This is a good sign, if they are really serious about trying to cull and breed out the cattle contamination and are careful about avoiding genetic bottlenecking in the process. This is also a problem with longhorn cattle, which I raise. Longhorns are highly unevolved, unselected left as nature intended in somewhat the same manner as bison, and their grazing and other behaviors are still similar. They were dropped to roughly the same or slightly lower numbers as bison by the early 20th century, are at roughly the same total numbers as bison today, and have about the same percentage of contamination with more domesticated cattle genes as bison. It is a bit of a challenge to get competent reliable information on blood and DNA to be able to manage your herd to cull those contaminated specimens while still sustaining as much bandwidth as possible in the remaining population. Any contamination is undesired and any loss of ancient bandwidth is tragic.

  2. I’m glad you are laboring to conserve the longhorn, a magnificent animal.

    I think there are a lot of efforts underway, but not enough, to conserve domestic plants and animals that were largely abandoned by agri-business went it went to something new, leaving us with a dangerously depleted genetic base for food.

    I understand the Idaho and other states depend dangerously on cultivars of the russet potato. 40 per cent of U.S. production is from russet potatoes.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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