Wildlife

Bison, Pioneers of the Prairie, Return to Kankakee Sands

January 25, 2017

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Over the past 20 years The Nature Conservancy in Indiana has been converting 6,700 acres of row-crop agriculture at Kankakee Sands into a diverse prairie. The goal – to restore key prairie habitat and connectivity for wildlife.

“Most plants and animals have been able to make it back on their own,” Ted Anchor the Northwest Indiana Program Director says. “Bison was one of those that we had to make a concerted effort to bring back and do it for all the right reasons.”

Bringing back these native grazers restores interactions between plants, animals, and fire – improving the diversity of ecosystems and biodiversity along with it.

In October of 2016, 23 bison from South Dakota were released on the prairie in Kankakee Sands.

Lisa Feldkamp

Lisa Feldkamp is the senior coordinator for new science audiences. She loves all things citizen science and enjoys learning about everything that goes on four legs, two wings or fins. She has a PhD in Classical Literature and Languages from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and enjoys reading Greek and Roman literature or talking about mythology in her spare time. More from Lisa

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4 comments

  1. I have been to the Kankakee Sands with TNC’s Fran Hardy in Illinois. I have been a TNC member for 40 years, and I will be doing a butterfly study of Nachusa Grasslands this year, funded by TNC and the Friends of Nachusa Grasslands. I am really looking forward to it. If you have other projects I could contribute to please let me know. I love the work — floristic, faunistic, and ecological, and 6 years ago I was a major botanist and ecologist for the 4-year project called the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory restudy, 30 years after the first such endeavor in the late 1970’s.

    It is great to hear about the introduction of bison to Kankakee Sands. TNC has done an outstanding job bringing back this very important grassland herbivore in several places now, including Nachusa Grasslands in Illinois, Broken Kettle in Iowa’s loess hills, and more. Keep up the great work!

  2. I REJOICE WHEN I HEARD ABOUT THE BISON MAKING A COMEBACK. HOWEVER, THIS PAST WEEK OR SO, I HAVE BEEN APPALLED TO READ ON FACEBOOK THAT HUNDREDS OF BISON WILL BE SLAUGHTERED BECAUSE THE BEEF INDUSTRY DOESN’T WANT THEM TO EXIST. PLEASE HELP RESCUE THEM. THEY ARE SOMEWHERE IN WYOMING. IF I SEE THE STORY AGAIN, I’LL MAKE NOTE OF THE LOCACTION. THANKS FOR THE WORK YOU DO.

    SOPHIA GRACE TORREZ COLORADO.

  3. WOnderful news……Can you find a place to save the wild mustangs that are being slaughtered to be eaten….magnificent horses , foals, mares, stallions.

  4. I hope the bison projects at Kankakee Sands succeeds. I saw them yesterday during a gentle lake effect snow flurry. Nice to see something in Indiana besides starlings, house sparrows, Walmarts, and sodium vapor lights.