Today was a busy one. I helped with one of our two annual bison roundups (one for each herd) at the Niobrara Valley Preserve. We brought about 500 bison in from the hills, ran them through a corral system, and sorted the ones to be kept from those to be sold. It was a cool and cloudy day, but the predicted rain held off until the last two hours, and we got everything done by late afternoon. I always love the chance to see these animals up close, and to listen to the sounds of pounding hooves and bison grunts.
Portrait of a bison cow in the corral. The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve.
I will post more photos from the Preserve next week, but I’ve just got time to post this one before I head to supper and then bed.
It’s been a busy week, capped off by two days helping staff and volunteers with a bison roundup at The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve. The bison in the Preserve’s two herds are pretty much left alone all year except for one annual roundup. Those roundups allow staff to sort off animals to be sold, innoculate calves that will be kept, and get a (fairly) accurate count of the herd. Yesterday was the main event, during which animals were herded into the corrals and run through a series of gates, alleys, and pens. Most of the animals were in and out of the corral within about 5 hours. The veterinarian will be here today to help process the rest.
Despite best efforts, the roundup – while important – is a little stressful for both bison and staff, so both parties are glad to see it end. As groups of animals are released to join their peers back in the hills, their excitement is palpable. The photo below captures one of those moments.
Within a few minutes of their release, the bison were back to grazing – apparently peacefully – out in the hills. Life goes on…