4 thoughts on “POTD: Today’s the Day”

  1. sejohnson210@gmail.com

    Certainly one of the bright spots in the conservation movement. I recently had the opportunity to spend time with the managers of the Buffalo Gap National grasslands in SD, the Grasslands that surround the Badlands National Park. The Park has a small herd , the Grasslands manages the use of some grazing of these animals, tribal buffalo and some commercial permittees that have buffalo as well as cattle. Layered on top is management of an endangered species, the black footed ferret and therefore prairie dogs. Cattlemen hate prairie dogs. But they like to (over)utilize the grass resource , which is good for prairie dogs. That is, between the cattle and buffalo, some areas are allowed to be overgrazed so prairie dogs prosper and so do the black footed ferrets. After a while, the areas of over grazing are moved and the ‘dogs and ferrets move too. As your link attested, this buffalo revival is happening in many areas in the west. Tip of the Hat to Ted Turner, a smart guy and visionary.

    1. We saw a smattering of the herd in/near Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. They were near the visitor center for Teddy Roosevelt National Monument, so perhaps the Monument has its own herd I suppose. (I’m not sure how the land boundaries break out in that area.) Among other things of course (a grassland ecosystem is very complicated), American Prairie is working with many of the same issues you describe, and they’re very aware of the relationship between bison, cattle, prairie dogs, and ferrets. Right now they’re working on establishing best methods for transplanting prairie dogs to areas that don’t currently have them because of extermination or other less direct reasons. The issue is complicated, they say, because prairie dogs are tight family units so moving individuals doesn’t work well, or is at least cruel to a degree. They also have an experimental project where they’re tagging select prairie dogs and then mapping where they go underground to try and build a 3D model of the tunnels. They tried ground penetrating radar, but that doesn’t work for some reason.

      In Montana, the biggest impediment to the restoration of bison herds in their former habitats is the Montana Department of Livestock and their cattle king cronies who are trying their best to run the state their way and screw everyone else–much like the Copper Kings did back in Montana’s mining heyday. It does make me wonder how they get along with Ted Turner as he has a large herd of bison on his property here.

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