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American Bison relocation

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by Arizona Docent, 17 Oct 2014.

  1. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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  2. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    So does this mean that, if only Yellowstone bison are pure (i.e. lack cattle genes), that those in zoos are not? Surely it would be great for Bronx to get some pure Yellowstone bison.
     
  3. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Impurity of American Bison was one of the very first new facts I learnt from Zoochat.:) But the article does say the Yellowstone herd is one of 'the few' that are pure, and not the only one. I am still unclear just how many other Bison have cattle genes. Whether its all, most or just some of those in captiviy.
     
  4. Buldeo

    Buldeo Well-Known Member

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    There was an article in the Washington Times a while back that said only the Yellostone & Ellis Island Herd* were considered genetically pure, but of the ~200,000 bison in the country they were supposed to be mostly pure -- 2% cow genetics or less.

    That same article said the WSC was supposed to get around a hundred animals to establish nucleus herd for other zoos, but I don't see why it should be a problem. U.S. Fish & Wildlife want to cull ~900 this winter to maintain herd size, etc. With all the work that's been done on the importance of genetic corridors, you think the US government would realize that keeping the bison on a virtual island is a bad idea.

    * - I don't recall seeing any bison on Ellis Island and wonder if the article meant Elk Island.
     
  5. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Almost all of the bison in captivity have some mixture of cattle DNA in them so if you've seen one in a zoo (Plains or Wood Bison), you've probably seen an impure one. And that includes European populations if I'm not mistaken. The wild populations of Plains Bison still has herds of pure bison along with herds of impure, while the Wood Bison no longer has any pure specimens.

    Bronx has two herds of bison: an on-show herd that consists of impure bison and an off-show herd that consists of pure bison. If I'm remembering correctly, Bronx has used some form of artificial insemination (or cloning tech.) to produce pure calves from the impure cows twice now.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  6. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I thought heWood Bison in/from Wood Buffalo National Park were completely pure as they had not come into any contact with domestic stock? Maybe I am wrong?

    As Bronx were partly instrumental in 'saving' the Plains Bison, were the original animals in their herd impure also?
     
  7. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    That actually sounds a bit familiar now that you say that, so maybe. I'm not sure, though.

    I don't think the original herd (or herds) they kept and bred at the zoo were impure but when they released the animals, they brought in stock of ranches and a few of those animals were impure as, at the time, some farmers were trying to create a superior breed of cattle by hybridizing the two species, and some of those offspring were accidentally used in the reintroduction.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  8. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    That would make sense. I am sure the impurities would have arisen from Ranch-kept stock, not from animals originally derived from the wild. So the cattle genes then crept into the mainstream population,apart from those 'closed' herds which were still living in ancestral homelands and were not the result of reintroductions, or containing any introduced animals added from outside sources.

    I still think the Wood Bison are/were pure though, for the reason I gave.