Denver Donates Bison To Tribal Nations In Hope Of Reintroducing Them To Their Native Habitat
In a bid to return bison to their natural habitat, Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) have gifted tribal nations with a herd of the large animals.
On Friday, April 2, the DPR donated 13 bison to the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes in Oklahoma while the 14th bison will be given to Tall Bull Memorial Council in Colorado.
As well as for the purpose of reintroducing the animals to their natural habitat, Denver council did it to support conservation efforts of tribal lands.
According to the DPR, the is the first time the City and County of Denver have attempted return wild bison to their native homes.
At one point in history, 30 million bison roamed areas of North America, but this number had dramatically decreased by the end of the 20th century leaving just 1,000 in the wild. It’s believed European explorers were behind the mammal’s demise.
While this number has since increased to 31,000 in North America, Denver hopes that it’s efforts will assist in helping Bison numbers to rise.
Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock told The Denver Channel, ‘Bison restoration efforts teach us how to be better stewards of the land, improve prairie landscapes and ecosystems, ensure genetic diversity of the species, and ensure a legacy of cultural understanding.’
Hancock added Denver shares a ‘common vision’ with their tribal partners in restoring wild bison to their habitats.
Meanwhile, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Governor Reggie Wassana said:
The Tribes plan to use the donated bison as a cultural, conservation and educational resource, with the goal of locating the bison on our own tribal natural plains habitat.
Denver Mountain Parks will also help support and sustain these conservation herds.
As to how the bison ended up in Denver, according to the City and County of Denver’s Twitter, the two herds located at Genesee Park & Daniels Park are descendants from the last wild bison in North America. It also wrote that the bison were originally established at Denver’s City Park by the Denver Zoo and the City of Denver.
The gifting of the bison comes instead of the city’s annual auction of the large animals. The yearly auctions took place to ensure Genesee Park and Daniels Park bison herds remained at a ‘healthy population size’ and to promote ‘genetic diversity within the managed bison population’, 9News writes.
The DPR will reportedly continue to donate bison to tribal nations instead of its annual auction.
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