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Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

The Wilds of Columbus Zoo Brings Bison to South Dakota

By meerna Jul10,2024
The Wilds of Columbus Zoo Brings Bison to South Dakota

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium announced that the Wilds, the Wildlife Restoration Foundation and the InterTribal Buffalo Council have successfully relocated 74 bison to the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.

The bison were previously housed at The Wilds Conservation Center. The move is part of The Wilds’ new bison conservation plans to improve the population.


What you need to know

  • Prairies once covered more than 142 million acres in the U.S., but are now among the most threatened, with less than 5% of their ecosystem remaining
  • Bison graze these areas, enriching the soil with nutrients and helping to create shallow wetlands that benefit amphibians, birds, plant species and more.
  • Bison are now on the brink of extinction due to overhunting and westward expansion.

“Transferring these bison is a critical step in our mission to restore this keystone species to its native range while respecting the deep cultural connections many tribes and communities have with bison,” said The Wilds Vice President Joe Smith in a release. “This collaborative effort highlights the critical importance of bison in maintaining the health of prairie ecosystems and supporting cultural heritage.”

The Columbus Zoo said in a release that American bison are essential to the health and diversity of prairie ecosystems. Prairies once covered more than 142 million acres in the U.S., but they are now among the most threatened, with less than 5% of the ecosystem remaining. Bison graze on these areas, adding nutrients back to the soil and helping create shallow wetlands that support amphibians and birds, plant species and more.

The bison is now near extinction due to overhunting and westward expansion. While they are essential to the prairie, they also play a role in the lives of tribes on the Great Plains who use bison for food, shelter, clothing, spiritual rituals and more, according to the Columbus Zoo.

The Wilds and its partners are working to transform the herd of about 150 bison on 600 acres into a prototype conservation herd managed by a zoological institution, according to the Columbus Zoo. To achieve that, The Wilds is taking the following steps:

  • Maintaining natural herd structures and behaviors
  • Ensuring genetic diversity and quality
  • Implementing advanced herd and health management strategies
  • Restoring Native Grasslands
  • Raising the Level of Public Education and Guest Experience

You can find more information here.

By meerna

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