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January 18 2013

TERRA 802: Restoring an Icon

The story has been told again and again: In little more than a decade during the late 1800s, hunters all but wiped out one of the continent’s most iconic animals, the American bison. They killed the animals by the tens of thousands for their hides, meat and simply for the thrill of the hunt. By the beginning of the 20th century, a species of huge ecological and cultural value had vanished from the prairie, surviving only in small, captive herds and a remnant population in Yellowstone National Park. In the late 1800s, two Montana ranchers, Michel Pablo and Charles Allard, spent more than 20 years assembling one of the largest collections of purebred bison on the continent. In 1907, after the U.S. government declined to buy the herd, Pablo made a deal with the Canadian government and shipped most of his bison northward to Elk Island National Park. Now, the ancestors of these bison are returning to their ancestral home in northern Montana. The American Prairie Foundation is working on restoring a vast amount of prairie to its natural state. This film follows the process of moving these bison and the challenges encountered along the way.
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