Going Green

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh, Give Me A Home....

Photo: Angela Schneider / AP

Bison fans aim to seed West with new herds

Scientists screen animals for disease, but cattle ranchers still worried

CORWIN SPRINGS, Mont. - More than a century after Buffalo Bill and others hunted America's wild bison to near-extinction, researchers at a compound near Yellowstone National Park have launched an ambitious restoration effort.

Inside the Corwin Springs compound, government veterinarians...(complete article here).

I see buffalo frequently. I see them in pastures and in feedlots. There are a few areas in the country with sufficient tracts of contiguous land to accomodate buffalo in a state similar to their original, unfettered nature, but very few. Many of those tracts are currently leased to ranchers for grazing cattle.

I expect that we will see escalating conflict between ranchers and those idealists who would like to drive by and see wild herds roaming the prairie. The trouble is, if they drive by in their car on a road to look at them then they are already interfering with the wild state of the animal. We can't go back folks. The days of aboriginal Americans roaming the prairies on horses to hunt the buffalo are long gone. There are places where you can experience those hunts however. For a fee. You can even sleep in a teepee.

To restore them to nature you would need to restore complete ecosystems. They need predators. Yes, wolves have been restored in a few places. Do you want them roaming your back yard? It would take much larger populations of wolves to control buffalo than what people would tolerate.

I'm not that fond of buffalo burger myself. Beef is juicier.

No comments: