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2012-04-26. As Bison Return to Prairie, Some Rejoice, Others Worry

posted Apr 28, 2012, 8:26 AM by Alan D. GOULD BA
  | by Nate Schweber, The New York Times. An article relevant to GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 2. Excerpt: WOLF POINT, Mont. — Sioux and Assiniboine tribe members wailed a welcome song last month as around 60 bison from Yellowstone National Park stormed onto a prairie pasture that had not felt a bison’s hoof for almost 140 years. …The bison’s return has been welcomed by American Indians, but some ranchers are less pleased. That historic homecoming came just 11 days after 71 pureblood bison, descended from one of Montana’s last wild herds, were released nearby onto untilled grassland owned by a charity with a vision of building a haven for prairie wildlife. Some hunters and conservationists are now calling for bison to be reintroduced to a million-acre wildlife refuge spanning this remote region. … Many farmers and ranchers fear that bison, particularly those from Yellowstone, might be mismanaged and damage private property, and worry that they would compete for grass with their own herds. …When the explorer Meriwether Lewis followed the Missouri River through this region in 1805, he came across bison herds he described as “innumerable.” Just eight decades later, a young Theodore Roosevelt noted that all that remained were “countless” bleached skulls covering the Montana badlands. Scientists estimate that tens of millions of bison once roamed America, but by 1902 there were only 23 known survivors in the wild, all hiding from poachers in a remote Yellowstone valley. For decades, attempts to transplant bison from the rebounding Yellowstone herd were thwarted, despite requests from tribes to steward some of the animals. …But some say the bison on the ranches do not pose the threat that the wild ones do….  Read full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/27/us/bison-return-to-montana-prairie.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120427