• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Wildlife Management - The Animals Arrive

Bison Bull

Bison Bull

NPS Photo

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.

 
Loading Bison onto a Train

Loading Bison onto a Train

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!

 
Transporting the Bison in Carts

Transporting the Bison in Carts

NPS Photo

Arrival Time

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.

 
Bison Against the Sunset

Bison Against the Sunset

NPS Photo

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.

 

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