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Where The Buffalo Roam!

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Ninety miles west of Chicago, staff and volunteers have worked since 1986 to restore Nachusa, a 3,100-acre mosaic of agricultural land and prairie fields. Thirty to 50 bison have arrived at Nachusa in livestock trailers from Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota and other TNC preserves. The conservancy has reintroduced bison to multiple preserves across the country.

By taking seeds from the prairie remnants, volunteers have replanted native species like wild petunias, hazelnuts and hawthorn berries. So far about 2,500 acres have been planted to prairie fields. Volunteers have also participated in controlled burns, another key to keeping the prairie alive. Bison graze young grasses down to the nubs but skip over wildflowers and other native plants. That gives a variety of plant species space to grow and gain a stronger foothold in the prairie.

Second, their weight. Bison hooves leave imprints in the soil, which helps space out plants. When they lie down, their 2,000-pound bodies create depressions where small pools can form in the rainy season—the perfect habitat for amphibians and reptiles, such as the threatened ornate box turtle.

Last, their poop. Bison pies are elixirs of nutrients for the prairie, spreading seeds, fertilizing the soil, and attracting insects—such as the dung beetle—to the region. Luckily for the box turtle, more dung beetles in the area means more meals for them as well.

“But it’s even more than that, It’s the little things too—when bison shed their winter coats, small animals have been recorded using their fur to build nests. That could increase their population, which could attract larger predators to the area.”
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Comments

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lyndee

Thanks everyone for your visit. I'm glad you enjoyed learning a little more about the buffalo.

Gladstone

That's the kind of story I like to hear and seeing happen.
Thank you Lyndee.

Dilubreuer

Just saw them in zoos...nice photo lyndee!

smllpkg101

Great close-up!

PLG1958

Wonderful set!

Dianapuzzles

Love it

Brie1648

Not one to be messed with!

pumpkinhead

Great photo, Lyndee! We have had buffalo "encounters" in the Black Hills of SD a number of times. Such memorable experiences!

SunnyBarb25

I have met a small, captive herd of 16 animals face to face when we were on vacation in northern Wisconsin. Like with you Lyndee, there was a fence between us so I was not afraid. Besides they were used to people close to them. They sure are very impressive animals. I hope they can be reintroduced all over the prairie land :)

Beekay

Well that's a relief ;-))

lyndee

I was within 20 feet of him BK.....but no fear, there was a fence between us. :)

Beekay

I hope you have a super long lens to shoot this photo! Great closeup!!

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