A breeder bull was recently introduced into Minnesota’s burgeoning wild buffalo herd. They’re hoping this bull gives a boost to bringing wild bison back in Minnesota.
Minnesota is trying to reintroduce America bison onto the state’s landscape, and to that end they recently acquired a young breeder bull. It is hoped that this bull’s introduction to the Minneopa State Park herd will help that small group of bison grow to its desired 30-40 animal population goal.
The portion of the park occupied by the bison is a prairie environment of only around 331 acres. Minnesota is attempting to not only grow their wild buffalo population but also reintroduce more natural prairie environments and conserve other prairie wildlife species native to Minnesota.
Presently the Minnesota wild bison herd numbers around 130 animals located in three areas: Minneopa State Park, Blue Mounds State Park and the Minnesota Zoo. All of the wild bison located in those three locations originated from Blue Mounds State Park and are genetically pure animals. That is, they have no cattle DNA mixed in.
This particular breeder bull came from the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, and was also tested for genetic purity before its introduction to the herd.
The Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd project is the result of a partnership between several agencies, including the state’s DNR Division of Parks and Trails, the Minnesota Zoological Garden and the Minnesota Zoo.
DNR regional naturalist Alex Watson said,
“This is a milestone. Nearly 130 years after the last wild and free bison disappeared from Minnesota and narrowly escaped extinction, this bull symbolizes the success of past conservation, and the need to always look forward.”
The introduction of this young breeder bull was handled in partnership with the zoo, which will manage genetic data about the herd and provide technical assistance with the herd’s management.
Eventually the Minnesota bison herd is intended to occupy several locations within the state. The Minneopa bison are the first herd being managed for conservation in the state. The park has a Bison Drive and Viewing schedule and itinerary set up on their website for interested people.
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