Newborn animals always elicit a certain “awwww” feeling.
But the bison calves recently born at The Nature Conservancy’s Broken Kettle Grasslands Preserve in Iowa aren’t just cute — they mark a turning point in the effort to reintroduce “pure” bison to native prairie in Iowa.
Bison used to roam American prairies in numbers so great you’d think they were mosquitoes — millions and millions of bison. But they were hunted to near extinction and remaining bison were interbred with cattle. Today, most bison exhibit evidence of cattle genes and only two herds exist in the United States that are believed to be pure.
Now bison from these source herds are being introduced at the Conservancy’s Broken Kettle Grasslands Preserve and other prairies in the Midwest to help the native prairies thrive.
As a result, for the first time in 150 years, pure bison calves have been born on native prairie in Iowa.
Want to learn more about the bison births and reintroduction effort? Read our Q&A with the Conservancy’s Scott Moats, director of stewardship at Broken Kettle.
(Image: newborn calf at Broken Kettle Grasslands Preserve. Sourc: Eric Robley/TNC.)
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