Rewilding of the Ruminants

Plains bison

Few species are as iconically North American as the Plains bison, once numbering 30 million strong from central Alberta to northern Mexico, from the Rockies in the west to Washington City in the east.

It’s extraordinary to me that European settlement could have been so unforgiving to this magnificent ruminant, stealing away its prairie habitat and hunting them within a few dozen members of extinction. All those persevering today are descended from the 85 individuals who survived our onslaught by 1888, bred in the confines of federal protection until numerous enough for reintroduction.

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The Underground Owl

Burrowing Owl

They told me I wouldn’t see one. The sun was fast setting over the rolling hills and prairie vistas of Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, and I’d already failed to spot one earlier that day. But given this park’s openness, where great distances and colossal skies are always within view, I was overcome with the possibilities inherent to this place. It was worth a try.

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