Skip to comments.Out West, With the Buffalo, Roam Some Strands of Undesirable DNA
Posted on 01/08/2007 11:41:23 PM PST by neverdem
MALTA, Mont. The animals certainly looked like bison, with the characteristic humps and beards. But just to make sure, a pick-up truck slowly rolled up to them, and a bison wrangler shot a drug-filled dart into one of several calves.
A few minutes later the anesthetized animal was on the ground, grunting and squirming. Several men warily moved in to hobble the animal and take blood samples.
This bison wrangling was being done to test the genetics of a herd of 39 animals that is being used by the American Prairie Foundation as seed stock to re-create a large-scale native prairie landscape. The researchers want animals with only pure bison genes, which are not so easy to find.
The majority of public herds have some level of hybridization with cattle, said Kyran Kunkel, a World Wildlife Federation biologist who is doing the sampling. You cant see any difference visually. But we dont know what the long-term ecological or biological impacts would be.
American bison, which teetered on the edge of extinction more than a century ago, are one of the first and perhaps greatest conservation successes, but there is an asterisk next to their species: while bison were being nursed back to viable populations, ranchers who owned them crossed them with cattle.
By the late 19th century, tens of millions of American bison had been reduced to fewer than 1,000, with two dozen or so in Yellowstone National Park, and another 250 in Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada. The balance of the animals were owned by cattle ranchers who wanted to preserve them.
They purposely crossed bison with domestic cattle to make a better beef animal, which they called cattelo, said James Derr, a geneticist at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine. Bison did better in harsh...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I had *heard* that Turner owned the largest herd of bison in the world. Maybe it's the largest private herd - have no idea how many he actually has.
However, the story claims that he has a genetically pure bison population - then this photo says those are hybridized bison on his ranch.
He serves buffalo steaks in his restaurants, so surely a portion of his herd is bred for meat, meaning crossed with cattle. I suppose we can *assume* then that he has several separate herds on several separate ranches (as in some in NM and some in MT, as stated above) and they are disparate.
IOW, it was somewhat misleading for me to get the impression that Turner had *only* pure bison stock from reading the article. Perhaps my mistake.
"A state-owned herd in Utah and a herd owned by Ted Turner on his Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico also show no signs of hybridization."
It appears he has both. IMHO, eat the hybrids.
I'm shocked to hear that Turner/bison are GMO. Does that mean that low demand by the the niggardly starvelings will keep the price down? Maybe if the bison/beef is irradiated, will that help?
Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA KMA
While nostalgically I'd love to see wild bison roaming the West again with Comanche and Sioux living off the herds, I also realize you cana't turn the clock back.
Bison are huge beasts that will go right through most fencing if they are allowed to follow their natural instinct to move up and down the continent with the seasons.
Put a million or two buffalo back on the trails and say goodbye to the nation's breadbasket in the Mid-west.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
Another TT ranch, from the location caption....
There is a book about giving the Great Plains back to the Buffalo...
Well personally, I'd rather stick those buffalo asses up in New York and in Californiyah to replace the manifold horses asses to be found there.
The Great Plains are fine sans buffalo. It was the intent of the book writers that the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and western Texas be included in the (are you ready for this?) "Buffalo Wallows".
The City Council of the City of Grand Prairie, Texas***************************AN EXCERPT ********************
c) Truman Middle School Junior Historians
Amy Sprinkles, Marketing Director, stated that no other area in the Metroplex has buffalo wallows preserved. They are located at the corner of Corn Valley and Freetown. Sculptures of buffaloes have been installed in the wallows as well as a historical marker. This area was part of the Galloway Farm, established in 1911, and this area was left uncultivated. The Housing Finance Corporation purchased the land in 2002 to build a senior citizen housing development (Mountain Creek Estates). Council Member Ruthe Jackson asked that the wallows be preserved and the HFC agreed.
Now how does that happen?
Thanks for the update.
Probably a breakdown in society and moral standards in the elk and deer herds. All the girls look pretty after a few beers.