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Plains Bison | by neil.fisher
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Plains Bison

As bison aren’t exactly cute and cuddly, why reintroduce them to Grasslands National Park where the public can freely mingle with the big brutes? Just imagine what North America’s prairies looked like with more than thirty million combination lawn mower-fertilizers. Along with re-vegetation programs focusing on native plant species, the bison are helping restore the prairie ecosystem of the park. And they’re not just helping native flora. The bison graze and keep the grasses short. Short grasses allows for larger populations of black-footed prairie dogs, who can now see predators over the neatly trimmed grass. It may sound insignificant, but even the shed hair of bison benefits many of the 26 bird species in the park who use the hair in nest construction. Bison are an integral part of the prairie ecosystem and it’s truly astonishing how much of an impact reintroducing a keystone species has on its surroundings.


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Taken on March 10, 2015