The 2017 calving season got off to an early start this year with our fist calf arriving on April 2nd. Since then, we have added 15 more. 14 from the main herd and 2 from the research herd near the Nature and Visitors Center that has us up to 73 bison in total. All have been doing well and moms have been doing a great job caring for their young ones. There is always a heightened sense of awareness during calving season and it can, at times, make it very difficult to keep track of calving. The entire herd will often move to the far corner of the prairie at the first sight of a vehicle to keep their calves safe. However, they are starting to relax a bit and have been bringing the calves up to the corral the last couple weeks, giving us a chance to get a good look at them and verify what cow the calves belong to. Throughout the season we try to keep a close eye on what is going on with the herd. Keeping good records of calving dates and identifying what cows are calving on a year-to-year basis is crucial information for us in order to make good management decisions with our bison.
We are not the only ones interested in our calves, however. We have been getting many inquiries from individuals and other organizations that are interested in using our animals with their unique genetics to start their own herds or buying our animals for breeding purposes to take advantage of the genetics we already have established. We will continue to network with others in bison conservation about our bison and continue to educate others about our goal of maintaining genetic purity and continue to push for the greatest genetic diversity we can get by bringing in animals from different conservation herds that have been identified as missing from our genetic makeup.