2nd Annual Bison Roundup Takes Place at The Nature Conservancy’s Dunn Ranch Prairie
On Tuesday, October 15, Conservancy staff and trustees gathered on Dunn Ranch Prairie for its 2nd annual bison roundup. The American bison herd, which has been steadily growing each year, was repatriated onto Dunn in 2011 as part of grassland restoration efforts.
Bison at Dunn Ranch Prairie.
Bison run along enclosure at Dunn Ranch Prairie.
On Tuesday, October 15th, Conservancy staff and trustees from Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa, along with local volunteers and partners, convened on Dunn Ranch Prairie, north of Kansas City, for the annual bison roundup.
Bison were repatriated onto Dunn Ranch Prairie in October 2011, as part of grassland restoration efforts. This was the second annual bison roundup at the prairie - the roundup allows animals to be weighed, evaluated, vaccinated, and sorted. Of the 56 bison rounded up this year, 17 were calves; all of the animals were inspected and vaccinated by a local veterinarian, and none of them were culled.
Furthermore, Dr. Stephen Blake, a researcher at Washington University, in collaboration with TNC and the Roosevelt Wildlife Station in Syracuse, NY, received a grant from the National Geographic Society to study bison/prairie interactions at Dunn Ranch. As part of this project, five bison were fitted with GPS collars - and two with critter cams - to record their movements and foraging patterns. Dr. Stephen Blake, as well as Greg Marshall, National Geographic Society, were on hand for the roundup.
The Conservancy has been working to restore the 3,258-acre Dunn Ranch Prairie for over a decade, and native reseedings, tree removal, invasive species control and controlled burns have produced dramatic results on the prairie. Today, the site boasts more than 300 native wildflowers, is a nesting ground for the greater prairie chicken and other grassland birds, and contains a thriving herd of American bison.
There are over 400,000 bison in public and private herds in the United States, but the Dunn Ranch Prairie herd is one of only eight in the country to not have been crossbred with cattle. To maintain genetic diversity and herd structure, the bison are swapped with other Conservancy herds each year.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org