Happy Birthday, Dear Bison

The bison is an American symbol; we use its image on flags, coins and logos, particularly here in the West, where certain institutions of higher learning even use the bison as a mascot. Bison were also a major source of meat for Native Americans and a menace for railroads, farmers and ranchers. In the nineteenth century, over-hunting by these groups and by Western settlers decimated the bison population.

Thankfully, conservation efforts have led to an increase in herds; today there are about 500,000 bison in captive commercial populations and approximately 30,000 bison in conservation herds. One of those is at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, where it has grown from sixteen animals in 2007 to more than forty.

To celebrate the anniversary of the herd’s creation — the animals were culled from the National Bison Range in Montana and unloaded in Colorado on March 17, 2007 — the refuge is hosting a Bison Anniversary Tour from 9 a.m. to noon today, St. Patrick’s Day. Cake will be served!

The refuge entrance is at 56th Avenue and Havana Street; for more information, go to www.fws.gov/rockymountainarsenal or call 303-289-0930.
Wed., March 17, 9 a.m.-noon, 2010


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