Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
If you make a contribution of $150 or more, you will become an official “Friend of the Planet” and receive a Friend of the Planet T-shirt or water bottle. You can also submit opinion essays to us for our consideration for posting on our new “Bright Ideas” op-ed page.
Dennis Jorgensen is the Bison Initiative Coordinator of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Last week, after working with Dennis and WWF, the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO), the economic arm of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, committed nearly 28,000 acres of native grassland for the creation of a new plains bison herd of 1,500 animals, which will make it North America’s largest Native American owned and managed bison herd. We caught up with him right after the announcement. Here are some excerpts from our interview. To watch the entire interview, click here.
MK: Why is the creation of the new preserve a “homecoming” for bison species? Why is it so important for the species?
DJ: In the late 1800s, bison were reduced to less than a thousand animals in the U.S. and Canada and prior to that, they had numbered between 30 and 60 million animals. Their numbers were reduced due to westward expansion and also in part to subjugate tribes…For the Plains Tribes, the bison were central to their economy, to their culture, to their spirituality. That loss left them in a different world. And now with the return of buffalo or bison to tribes we believe and hope and expect that it can restore prosperity, identity and connection to the animals and the land….World Wildlife Fund is really excited to support these efforts to bring bison back….Tribes have been doing that for many years but they were under-resourced…We are working with the communities to establish programs that are economically and culturally sustainable….
MM: How is the project going to work? Where will you get the bison and how will you be ensuring their sustainability?
DJ: …Even though National Parks and the Dept. of Interior have done a wonderful job of restoring bison to parklands and refuge lands, there are not a lot of places where you can restore bison on a large scale in the U.S. The Rosebud Economic Development Corporation, which is the economic arm of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, was really interested to secure a lease (of land) that was becoming available on the Reservation. And we said we can help find the resources to secure that lease. The World Wildlife Fund has been involved in the establishment of bison herds with tribes and we thought we could bring some expertise to that and we could bring some ability to secure resources…I feel confident that we will be able to help REDCO to establish this herd of 1500 bison.
MK: Has there been a hit to the genetic diversity of bison? Does that complicate creating a larger, unified herd?
DJ: That was actually one of the more exciting aspects of this for the Department of Interior. They were looking for a place to blend the various herds…REDCO is open to receiving bison from any DOI population so this will be a site where all the herds can be blended and so the expectation is that it will be a very healthy herd….Overall, the World Wildlife Fund’s goal is to establish five herds of at least 1000 bison by 2025. The reason for that is that 75% of the herds managed for conservation number less than 400 animals…by establishing larger herds it ensures that the long term genetic health of the species will be preserved.
MM: How important is the bison to Western Americans, to all Americans. Why do you think conserving these magnificent creatures matters?
DJ: Bison are the national mammal of the United States….Not that many people have the opportunity to see them as wild animals and a lot of people are thrilled when they get the opportunity to go to places like Yellowstone National Park and see them in essentially their natural setting and in the largest numbers that you can see them anywhere in the continental U.S. Bison were our first conservation success story globally. There was a conscious decision to save the species. They could have been lost and they were not….We are seeing bison restoration now in the communities where it belongs…This project is a perfect way to demonstrate how a tribe can thrive by bringing bison back….
Climate change is having long-term effects on the marriage prospects of farmers in Andhra Pradesh, India,The Conversation reported today. As part of a larger project running from 2018 to 2021, the researchers interviewing over 1000 farmers to learn about the “increasing vulnerability of agriculture” in the region. What they found was, in their own words, “unexpected.”
Why This Matters: As the researchers note in their study, “the focus on climate change hitherto has mostly focused on the impacts on the natural environment.”
by Julia Fine, ODP Contributing Writer As Arun Gupta and Michelle Fawcett reported last week, coronavirus is “exploding” in populations of farmworkers across America. In their report, they noted that on a single farm in Tennessee, all 200 workers tested positive for the disease while in Immokalee, Florida, results indicated that over 1,000 migrant workers […]
by Julia Pyper, host/producer, Political Climate podcast, Contributing Editor at Greentech Media The urgency of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 hasn’t dwindled amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But renewed calls to address long-standing racial injustices further underscore that climate solutions can no longer function in a silo. House Democrats’ new “Congressional Action Plan for […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.