The Returning Buffalo
It's been well over a century ago since they started disappearing, but they are slowly returning, and making a big comeback in life. There was once a time when they all flourished all around Mesas, just like the one pictured to the right. ---->
The American buffalo or bison as they are referred to in their scientific name, are estimated to have numbered over 60 million animals strong once upon a time.
The buffalo once roamed the vast grasslands of North America. The buffalo moved around in massive herds stretched from horizon to horizon in the great plains region of states like Wyoming and Nebraska. Wyoming has included the mighty buffalo upon their state flag.---->
In the 1800's the mighty buffalo were considered to be in a virtual limitless supply. By the 1890's buffalo faced near extinction, and they were decimated in numbers that were less than 2,000, after being over hunted by European settlers.
The Native Plains Indians lives depended, and completely revolved around the American buffalo, and they used just about every single part of the animal's body. The buffalo provided them with shelter, tools, clothing, food, and other supplies as well. The buffalo was the original lean red meat at the time, and still is today.
When in contrast the European settlers, otherwise known as buffalo hunters, hunted the buffalo for their tongues (which is considered a delicacy), bones, hide, and very little else. They left the remaining carcasses in the fields to rot. This was very wasteful, really sad, and sometimes man just doesn't think about the consequences of his actions.
Today the buffalo have proven that they are very hearty survivor in this world, thanks to buffalo enthusiasts and farmers working towards preserving a piece of the past. The renewed interest in this graceful animal has brought the buffalo population today back up to about half a million animals. One half of this herd is based in Canada, and the other 250,000 buffalo are living in the United States of America.
I took these top three photographs of the same buffalo at Yellowstone National Park. They have rules and one of those rules is to keep a safe distance from all wildlife. This means keeping a safe distance of 25 yards from wildlife like buffalo, however like so many other people I couldn't resist getting this great shot. While taking this picture a van drove by, and a teenage girl yelled out "You're not supposed to get closer then 75 feet". We all figured she was mad because her parents wouldn't stop so that she could join us, or maybe she just got finished watching the buffalo scene in the Geico insurance commercial.
I took these two photographs below of the first real buffalo that I've ever seen before, and came face to face with in my lifetime. He was a very gentle, quiet animal, and he never made one single solitary sound. He's as big as he looks in these pictures, he was not the least bit afraid of me, and he appeared as though he was very very proud. He was also very cooperative, and happy to stand up and pose for me, while I snapped this photo.