The first bison calf has been born to the new herd released onto the Wind River Reservation. The herd was released there last fall. For the Eastern Shoshone tribe, it’s a sign of the herd’s health since it was a hard winter on many wildlife.
Eastern Shoshone Tribal Bison Representative Jason Baldes said the herd was brought to Wyoming from a long grass prairie in Iowa, but that the species is hardy and adapted well to Wyoming’s high plains. He says the herd did receive some supplemental feeding though.
Baldes was there right after the calf was born.
“Once you see the little guy hit the ground and see it running and playing—you know, it’s a bright red color so it really stands out—it’s really cool to see that this is the first bison calf born for 130 some years for a tribal buffalo population.”
Baldes said, he was excited to witness the rest of the herd meet the new calf.
“We got to see those other nine meet the calf individually. So they all kind of said hello to it and kind of welcoming it and greeting it into their world. So it was really special to see.”
Baldes said there was hope that two bison cows would give birth this spring, as the tribe continues to try to grow the size of the herd. He says when possible they’ll try to bring another eight to ten bison out from Iowa in the future.
He said once the herd is large enough, the tribe hopes to build an education center nearby. And he’d like to breed more wild bison so other tribes can release them on their tribal lands in hopes of bringing the species back to its former range.