Grasslands on a Grand Scale in Montana – APF and WWF
On a cold, windy November day last year, Bill Eichbaum stared in awe as 16 American bison (Bison bison) that had been confined in a 100-acre outdoor pen for six weeks noticed an open gate in their paddocks. They ambled slowly out, led by a dominant bull, and entered the seemingly endless prairie of northeastern Montana. Suddenly, like wind whipping through tall grasses, they bolted across the prairie for a few minutes, then settled down to graze as if nothing had happened. Eichbaum and other spectators watched and cheered, some teary eyed.
The bison were released into the wild in a part of the northern Great Plains that had not seen the shaggy animals running free in more than a century. "Maybe I’m a bit of a romantic at heart, but it really moved me," says Eichbaum, the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) vice president for endangered species. "It was really inspiring. We were all a bit giddy."
by Jeffrey P. Cohn
American Prarie Foundation: http://www.americanprairie.org/
Black-footed Bandits, Stealing Home
by Howard Youth
All may seem tranquil above the surface of a prairie dog town, but danger lurks below. Deftly infiltrating a labyrinth of burrows with ninja-like stealth and speed, the black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) seizes sleeping prairie dogs by night, and rests in their burrows by day. While this mink-sized, tubular-bodied carnivore seems to have found itself a good niche, its specialized diet and behavior binds it to the misfortune of its once-abundant prey.
Ranchers have long considered prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) competitors for the grasses eaten by their cattle and sheep, and complain that prairie dogs’ burrow entrances pose a hazard to loping livestock. After more than a century of being shot, poisoned, trapped, and bulldozed, prairie dogs are now found on just two percent of the approximately 100 million acres they once inhabited.
Sorry, we couldn't find any posts. Please try a different search.