Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Private Zoo's Before Regulation--Bill Wrigley Jr's. Private Zoo--Now They Are Called "Sanctuaries."

Why does it look like a Wisent got into the Catalina Island Buffalo Herd?

Recent news about Catalina's bison.

In 1924, fourteen bison were brought to Catalina for the making of a film, though presently the name of that film is unknown. When the lights went down and film crews departed, the bison were left on the Island.

Over the years, the herd grew and is rumored to have reached up to 600 animals at its peak. When it was formed in 1972, the Conservancy took over management of the bison which by that time had become iconic to Catalina and part of the socio-economic and cultural ethos of the Island.

A study commissioned by the Conservancy in recent years was the basis of a management strategy aimed at ensuring both the health of the herd and minimizing impacts to Catalina's native habitat. Based on that study, today, the Conservancy manages herd size at between 150 and 200 animals by shipping animals off the Island when necessary.

In recent years, the animals have been repatriated to Lakota tribes in South Dakota that enter into an agreement with the Conservancy that the animals will live out their natural lives on tribal lands.

To read about population ecology and the health of bison on Catalina Island and how their activities affect Island plants and animals, click here (PDF - Bison Study Executive Summary)

Principal Investigators:
Rick Sweitzer, Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
University of North Dakota

Dirk Van Vuren, Professor
Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology University of California Davis

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