Bison: Still Not Back From The Brink (Reposted from Mountain Journal)
By Greta Anderson On May 29, 2019 · 5 Comments · In Wildlife News
THE RESCUE OF AMERICA’S NATIONAL LAND MAMMAL IS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE GREATEST CONSERVATION SUCCESS STORIES EVER AND YET IT’S HARD TO FIND MANY WILD HERDS ON THE MAP
by Jim Bailey
During the 20th century, Montana took pride in bringing several species of large mammals, especially big game, back from the brink of extinction. But bison, likely once the most abundant large mammal in the state, were a forgotten species. Today, there are no public wild bison herds year-round in Montana.
Of course, there are lots of bison in Montana; but they are not wild and only a few are public trust wildlife—belonging to all of us.
Most are privately owned in commercial herds. They are managed much as cattle, under regulations of the state Department of Livestock. Management practices lead to domestication—simplifying and disorganizing the wild bison genotype.
The ambitious American Prairie Reserve has several hundred bison, with an intent to minimize management interventions, thereby retaining the inherent bison wildness…….
Read the rest of the article by clicking through to Mountain Journal, where this piece was originally published.
Greta Anderson is a plant nerd, a desert rat, and a fan of wildness. She is the Deputy Director of Western Watersheds Project and lives on the land of the Tohono O'Odham and Yaqui people in what is now called Arizona. Greta's opinions and world views are not necessarily reflected in the posts of other authors on this blog.
5 Responses to Bison: Still Not Back From The Brink (Reposted from Mountain Journal)
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The largest ‘free roaming’ herd in the US is in the Henrys of Utah, transplanted in the ’50s from Yellowstone stock.
Unfortunately, the rest seemingly are in cages.
http://www.fws.gov/bisonrange/timeline.htm This page at the FWS website shows what happened to bison from 1500 to modern day. It should be noted that despite pleas for bison protection early on,federal and state governmental institutions refused to act. We are lucky to have any Tatanka left. The passenger pigeons were not so fortunate.
The “American” culture has suppressed history through its anemic history books and propaganda. Even the “history” channel devotes itself to ‘mountain men”, “goldrushers”, “timberman” etc.; set up scenarios to keep the capitalistic and exploitive ideology alive instead of having the guts to show the real history of how America was carved up and subdued. The sins of the past are still upon us. That is why America cannot heal.
It’s sad that we still hold to almost the same old ideas as when this country was first settled. I use the universal ‘we’ because those who oppose the status quo either don’t act for change or there are not enough. How did Donald Trump get elected? ’nuff said.
Nearly destroyed the bison herds, wolves (irrational and insatiable killing for wolves), elk, passenger pigeon, genocide of indigenous peoples, and on and on.
The endless cycle of bison -> brucellosis, when it is ok for elk and not discussed (because elk are desirable for hunters) and this autocratic ruling with an iron fist in the West has to be broken up.
Just think of how an animal can be shot because of a ‘perceived threat’ can be abused! Made up!
And there’s proof! Looking back at old photographs of bison bones piled sky high, wolf pelts tacked to the sides of barns with the killers and their guns (the first hunting selfies), and vacationers encouraged to shoot bison from the windows of trains of the railroads, is shocking.