TALLGRASS PRAIRIE NATIONAL PRESERVE, Kan., Oct. 31 (UPI) — Bison are roaming the Kansas plains again for the first time in almost 140 years — after being trucked in, conservation officials say.
The 13 bison from a herd in South Dakota were released in east-central Kansas Friday, The Kansas City Star reported.
The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit group, paid about $50,000 to buy the animals and ship them to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. The group has erected fences to keep the bison from wandering into nearby cattle pastures.
At least 30 million bison roamed the North American continent 500 years ago, the Star said. But they were hunted for their hides and for sport and today the continent is home to roughly 450,000 bison, a little less than half of them in Canada.
Many are destined for the dinner table. About 70,000 were slaughtered in the United States last year, twice as many as five years before, the Star said.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International