Start receiving our award-winning magazine today!

Subscribe

Genetically Valuable Bison from South Dakota to be Released onto Missouri Prairie

Bison from The Nature Conservancy in South Dakota Were Rounded Up and Sent to Missouri to Create a New Herd


RAPID CITY, South Dakota | November 15, 2011

Bison Round Up at Lame Johnny Creek

A herd of 30 bison from The Nature Conservancy’s Lame Johnny Creek Ranch in western South Dakota was recently reintroduced to The Nature Conservancy’s Dunn Ranch Prairie in northwest Missouri. The Conservancy announced today that it plans to move the bison from a small corral on the property into a 1,250-acre fenced-in area this Thursday.

“We’re really excited to finally have bison at Dunn Ranch,” said Randy Arndt, the Conservancy’s Dunn Ranch manager. “The release of the bison onto the prairie will be the culmination of four years of preparation.”

An additional seven bison were transferred to Dunn Ranch Prairie from the Conservancy’s Broken Kettle Grasslands in Iowa. All of the bison at Lame Johnny Creek, Broken Kettle Grassland and now Dunn Ranch were derived from the bison herd at Wind Cave National Park as a result of an agreement between the Conservancy and the National Park Service.

The Wind Cave herd is genetically valuable because it shows no evidence of cattle genes and the animals are free of brucellosis. “As we establish new bison herds, we’re utilizing Wind Cave animals that have had extensive genetic testing,” said Bob Paulson, the Conservancy’s Western Dakotas Program Director.  The Conservancy uses its Lame Johnny Creek Ranch as a “seed herd” to help establish new bison herds on select native prairies. The Conservancy has also established bison herds in Kansas and Mexico that are descendants from the Wind Cave herd.  

When settlers arrived on North America’s Great Plains, they encountered tens of millions of bison (often called buffalo). By the end of the nineteenth century, less than 1,000 remained. There are now more than 500,000 bison in public and private herds in the United States, but most are believed to have at least some cattle DNA. 

Healthy grasslands are grazed periodically by cattle or bison and the Conservancy uses both.

The Conservancy has more than 25 years of experience in bison management. The Conservancy established its first bison herd in 1984 at the Samuel H. Ordway, Jr. Memorial Preserve in northern South Dakota, a 7,800-acre expanse of prairie that is the Conservancy’s largest preserve in the state.

Photo © Hilary Haley/TNC


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

Contact information

Chris Anderson
South Dakota Media Contact
612-331-0747 (work)
612-845-2744 (mobile)
canderson@tnc.org

Related Links

We’re Accountable

The Nature Conservancy makes careful use of your support.

More Ratings

x animal

Sign up for Nature eNews!

Sign Up for Nature e-News

Get our e-newsletter filled with eco-tips and info on the places you care about most.

Thank you for joining our online community!

We’ll be in touch soon with more Nature Conservancy news, updates and exciting stories.

Please leave this field empty

We respect your privacy. The Nature Conservancy will not sell, rent or exchange your e-mail address. Read our full privacy policy for more information. By submitting this form, you agree to the Nature.org terms of use.