After an absence of 150 years, the Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd charged onto 1,000 acres at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Red Mountain Open Space in northern Colorado on Nov. 1, 2015. The project that began as a simple concept - returning an iconic species to its native landscape - is producing profound conservation and cultural rewards, both in northern Colorado and across the country.
This particular herd descends directly from Yellowstone bison. This is notable because bison in the Greater Yellowstone Area are often afflicted with an infectious disease that can also infect elk, cattle, and people. The disease, brucellosis, has been a barrier to moving American bison directly from Yellowstone. Assisted reproductive technologies were the innovative solution needed to establish the Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd- a herd with valuable genetics of Yellowstone bison that also is free from disease. CSU scientists are providing reproductive technologies, which were first developed for horses and cattle; these techniques are essential to genetically supporting the herd while also halting disease.
Fast forward seven years later and we have seen great amounts of success. Our herd has flourished and grown from just 10 animals to dozens with each generation becoming more attuned to the land. We have begun fulfilling our mission of becoming a seed herd. This means that we are giving bison away to organizations and tribes that are using bison for conservation and cultural purposes. In 2022, we rehomed 39 bison to 3 Native Nations through a partnership with the Intertribal Buffalo Council. We also provided the founding members of a new conservation herd on the Southern Plains Land Trust in Colorado. We are helping return bison to the prairies!
BUT, we need YOUR help. Consider becoming a Bison Advocate and supporting our efforts for preserving this national icon. Your donations will help pay for winter feed, veterinary care, staff who care for the bison daily, and a trailer, which we desperately need! Donate and become an Advocate for a calf, yearling, teenager, mama, or one of our OG bulls.