Archive for September 8th, 2011

Southern Plains Bison

Thursday, September 8th, 2011


This is Passport to Texas

Almost lost to extinction, a small herd of southern plains bison—the state’s official herd—roams 300 acres at Caprock Canyon State Park in the Texas Panhandle.

04—This herd was started back in the 1870s by Charles Goodnight.

Park Superintendent Donald Beard says Goodnight, a legendary Texas cattle rancher, brought bison to Palo Duro—after his wife Mary Ann expressed concern about the number of animals being slaughtered.

08—They are probably the last true example of the great Southern Plains Bison. This is how they were when the roamed freely.

Superintendent Beard says the herd has unique genetic markers not found in other bison, which is just one reason to preserve their lineage.

15—Strictly for science, it’s a very important herd. Not only that, but the history behind this herd is amazing. This is one of the five foundation herds that bought bison back from the brink of extinction in the late 1800s.

And not just in Texas.

09—Charles Goodnight made a deal with the National Park Service, and sent some bulls to Yellowstone. So this herd here helped bring the Yellowstone herd back up as well.

Soon, the official herd of Texas will be a step closer to roaming wild. That’s tomorrow.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.