Wildlife Management - The Animals Arrive
The Journey Begins
The bison were a gift from the New York Zoological and the American Bison Societies. Simply getting these animals to the park was quite a story. Fred Dille, of the U.S. Biological Survey, was in charge of transporting the bison.
NPS Photo Archive
Destination: South Dakota
In New York, the bison were loaded onto an express train. They arrived in Hot Springs, a 2000-mile trip, 2 1/2 days later. When the train reached Hot Springs, every available truck and cart was pressed into service to get the animals the remaining eleven miles to the preserve. This journey took ten hours!
By the time the bison reached the preserve, quite a crowd had gathered to see them released. There was only one problem. The bison had no idea how to back out of a crate! This frustrating experience is summarized in the words of Dille:
To suggest to a buffalo that he must back out of the crate by poking him in the head… are but a challenge to him and he does not propose to give ground.
A New Life
The final operation was more like removing the crates from the animals than the animals from the crate. At last, the bison were released and they wandered off into the sunset to begin their new life on the prairie.
For more information about the return of the wildlife to Wind Cave National Park select from the listings below:
Did You Know?
Lewis and Clark, while on their journey up the Missouri River in 1804, noted that this "wild dog of the prairie...appears here in infinite numbers." More...