Buffalo Roam Free at the 7,000-Acre Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park In Ohio

Did you know that there’s a place in Ohio where the buffalo roam free? Few people do.

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park in Galloway, Ohio is home to two prairies where you can watch these majestic animals graze.

It’s a hidden gem beloved by locals and a pleasant surprise to visitors who aren’t from the area. Here’s why this truly unique park is a must-visit, no matter what time of year it is:

Stretching across more than 7,000 acres, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park is home to a herd of bison that roam free. It’s a best kept Ohio secret.

The buffalo roam freely within two enclosed pastures. You can often view the herd from the Darby Creek Greenway Trail, the bison overlook deck and the Nature Center.

Once the spring season hits, the bison get a health check-up before they’re released from the winter grazing area and sent into the prairie pasture.

In addition to watching these majestic creatures roam, you’ll want to check out the wetlands—a diverse landscape makes this park special.

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

Meat Intake linked to Health and Longer Life

Eating red meat extends your life, scientists say, in a comprehensive new world study published Feb 22 2022 in the International Journal of General Medicine.

Has eating meat become unfairly demonized as bad for your health?

“While detrimental effects of meat consumption on human health have been found in some studies in the past, the methods and findings in these studies are controversial and circumstantial,” says study author Dr. Wenpeng You, University of Adelaide researcher in biomedicine.

“Looking only at correlations of meat consumption with people’s health, or life expectancy within a particular group, or a particular region or country can lead to complex and misleading conclusions.

“We wanted to look more closely at research that has thrown a negative spotlight on meat consumption in the human diet,” Dr. You says. Their study examined the health effects of total meat consumption in 175 countries–approximately 90% of the world.

“Our team broadly analyzed the correlations between meat eating and life expectancy, minimizing the study bias and making our conclusion more representative of the general health effects of meat eating at global and regional levels.”

This study shows that meat intake is positively associated with newborn life expectancy, life expectancy at 5 years of life and adult life expectancy.

In regard to the often praised Mediterranean diet, she says it is worth noting that their studies show countries on the Mediterranean diet have greater life expectancy when there is more total meat in their diet. This may suggest that, regardless of suggested beneficial health effects of Mediterranean diet, more total meat intake may benefit longevity in the populations primarily on this diet.

“The majority of countries bordering Mediterranean Sea are developing economics, and have high mortality rates for chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancers. The correlation between the Mediterranean diet and low incidence of chronic diseases might be sporadic in the studies in the populations surrounding the Mediterranean Sea because their high mortality rates have eliminated patients with chronic diseases.”

She says humans have evolved and thrived over millions of years because of their significant consumption of meat. The complete nutritional profile of meat and human adaptation to meat eating have enabled humans to gain many physical benefits, including greater life expectancy.
Meat intake, or its adequate replacement, should be incorporated into nutritional science to improve human life expectancy.

“Education is an important contributor to life expectancy similar to caloric consumption, while meat consumption has a significant effect on life expectancy at age 5 years.

“Worldwide, populations with more meat consumption have greater life expectancies,” adds Dr. You.

Meat has advantages over food of plant origin in containing complete protein with all essential amino acids, is rich in vitamins, in particular vitamin B12, and all essential minerals. It has a significant role in maintenance of better physical growth and development, optimal breastfeeding and offspring growth.

The study examined the association between meat intake and life expectancy at a population level based on ecological data published by the United Nations. All required information available was obtained for this study, which looked at total populations rather than selected groups.  

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

8th White Bison born to Herd at Sioux Valley Dakota Nation

8th White Bison born to Herd at Sioux Valley Dakota Nation

With a new white bison calf joining the herd in Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, community members say it’s a sign to get back to living in balance with nature.

 The calf born on April 16 is the eighth white bison to be born on the First Nation in as many years. They are part of a herd of 104 bison in the community about 40 kilometres west of Brandon, Manitoba.  

 “The white buffalo is a blessing and a warning for our people, not just Native people but all people,” said Kevin Tacan, one of the community’s spiritual advisors, whose family also takes care of the herd.

 Tacan said climate change is noticeable not only to us, but to animals as well

 “They’re starting to come back, reminding us that we’re supposed to be living in balance with nature,” he said.

 “We’re supposed to be living in balance with the animals and the natural world, and we’re not doing that.”

 Tacan said First Nations have a special relationship with bison.

 “We have a very close, spiritual relationship with the buffalo, because we both experienced genocide,” he said.

 “And right now we’re getting our apologies from governments, but there are no apologies coming for the buffalo herd yet, and it’s something we’d like to see down the road.” 

He said the bison are there for community members and other folks who come and pray. 

“They pray for relatives who are sick or who are struggling in life with addictions or anything like that,” he said.

“They’re all different tribes that are coming here and doing their ceremonies here.”

Tobacco offerings tied in colourful fabrics line the fence, left by previous visitors. 

“The buffalo would come and check them out, and listen to their prayers and then hopefully they’ll carry our prayers for the year, so that we can live a healthier, happier life,” said Tacan. 

Keeping the herd wild

Tony Tacan, Kevin’s brother, is the community herd rancher, and a council member.

He said this is the second bison herd they started after being given a white bison by the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg in 2010. 

His family takes care of the bison, along with their horses. 

“We took the responsibility on for the community, to ensure that they’re fed, watered, cared for,” said Tony Tacan. 

“We’ve been doing that for so many years now.”

He said his brothers and cousins help out, along with his sons and nephews. 

“We expect to keep them wild, we don’t want to domesticate them,” he said.

“That’s not the way of our people.” 

Tony Tacan said there will be upcoming changes to the area, with a cement pad created for the elders’ handi-van, and signs on the main road directing people to the compound. A space for gatherings is also in the works. 

“We make sure we have a place for people to come and pray; it offers people hope,” he said.

“Times being what they are, we need them to come here and feel better.” 

(From The CBC)

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

Mycoplasma Bovis Fact Sheet — May 2022

2021 Case Count: 21 herds with confirmed cases in 10 states, according to the Mycoplasma Task Force with the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies at South Dakota State University.

 Disclaimer: The National Bison Association assumes no responsibility for the below content, provided for informational purposes only. This content is based solely on anecdotal information from volunteers in the bison industry who have experienced losses due to Mycoplasma bovis as the science of M. bovis in bison advances. 

 Conditions That May Cause Incidents of M. bovis 

  • Drought, poor pasture and water conditions.
  • Crowded, dusty, high-stress environments.
  • Excessive wildfire smoke.
  • Any type of stress — environmental, nutritional, behavioral, etc.
  • Parasite loads or other causes for a depressed immune system.

 Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms may depend on the primary type of infection. The two most common areas of infection will occur in the throat (upper respiratory) or lungs (lower respiratory). The animal can be infected in both places, but the early symptoms appear different depending on the primary infection site but usually include coughing, sneezing, or runny nose. In some cases, the primary site is localized to leg joints, uterine tissue, mammary system, eyes, and other places, but these outbreaks seem less common. Symptoms may also be systemic and appear widespread in the animal’s systems upon necropsy.

 Animals will tend to separate themselves from the herd.

  • General lethargy is common.
  • Poor posture — animals will appear uncomfortable and humped up.
  • Dull eyes — “40-yard stare”. Animals may appear introspective and have no interest in surroundings or other animals.
  • The throat area may appear swollen, and animals may extend their neck to help increase air intake. Difficulty breathing may be apparent.
  • Animals don’t move willingly. If they move, you may observe a jerky gate or “short stepping” in the front legs, a possible result of lungs adhering to the ribcage, so the animal doesn’t want to take big steps with front legs. Joints may appear swollen, thus making moving painful and difficult. Additionally, animals are slow to move, limping and guarding extremities, usually from severe arthritic pain.
  • Noticeable swelling and weeping around eyes/orbital sockets.
  • Thick pus may be observed in the corner of the eyes.
  • Pacing, or walking by moving the feet on the same side instead of the normal four-beat alternating gait.

Management Suggestions

  • Use caution when bringing in new animals, especially if the new arrivals are from an open herd. If possible, isolate new animals for a quarantine period (e.g., 30-days) before introducing them into the herd.
  • After identifying suspect symptoms, separate infected animals from the herd as quickly as possible. Try to maintain a 100-yard minimum distance from healthy animals, ideally downwind.
  • Keep animals out of dusty or wet conditions whenever possible.
  • Limit stress on the animals. Keep hay and water within reach and consider providing ample free choice or lick-block minerals.
  • Slaughter is a reasonable option — rapid euthanasia can help prevent the spread to other animals. If this choice is made, the earlier it’s done, the better, and if harvesting for meat, the sooner, the better to increase salvage value.

Action Plans 

  • Autogenous vaccines are available, but strain mutation, outbreaks in vaccinated herds, and poor etiology understanding have raised vaccine efficacy questions. While vaccination with an autogenous Mycoplasma vaccine won’t harm animals, understand that it may or may not be effective. 
  • Consult with your veterinarian as needed to perform a necropsy on deceased animals and collect samples to send in for analysis so the strain of M. bovis can be identified and documented.
  • Document all cases in your herd through photographs, dates, weather and management conditions, and necropsy results.
  • Please fill out the Mycoplasma Anecdotal Interview, available here, and return it to Karen@bisoncentral.com. All information you provide is kept confidential. Interviews and other information will be shared with the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies for compilation in their reports and research.

Any U.S. affected producers may be eligible for financial assistance for animals lost to M. bovis. Please visit the USDA’s livestock Indemnification Program to learn more: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/livestock-indemnity/index or Farmers.gov recovery resources: https://www.farmers.gov/protection-recovery.

Please note, this information will be formatted into a more substantial fact sheet with graphics and distributed to the membership shortly.

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

1st 2022 bison born at Rocky Mountain Arsenal

1st 2022 bison born at Rocky Mountain Arsenal

(From 9 News)

COMMERCE CITY, Colo — Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge (RMA) has a new resident.

The first bison calf of the season has been born at the Commerce City wildlife refuge.

Located ten minutes from downtown Denver, RMA is home to a herd of more than two dozen bison as well as deer, raptors, songbirds, waterfowl, prairie dogs and coyotes.

Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) maintains two conservation bison herds in the Denver Mountain Parks system at Genesee Park and Daniels Park. 

The herds were originally established at Denver’s City Park by the Denver Zoo and the City of Denver. The herd was moved to Genesee Park in 1914 and expanded to Daniels Park in 1938.

In March, the City of Denver donated 33 bison to the Northern Arapaho Tribe, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes and Tall Bull Memorial Council to reintroduce wild bison and support conservation efforts on tribal lands.

The City and County of Denver said 15 American Bison were presented to the Northern Arapaho Tribe of Wyoming, and 17 bison were transferred to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma. One bison will be given to the Tall Bull Memorial Council in Colorado.

“For over a century now, Denver has been the proud caretaker of these Bison herds, and we remain committed to their conservation as an integral part of the ecosystem here in the West,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

“We’re taking that commitment to a new level, and through this effort with our tribal partners, this is an opportunity to help establish, support, and sustain Native American conservation herds across the country.”  

Last year, Denver City Council approved an ordinance for the donation of American Bison from the City and County of Denver to American Indian Tribes and non-profit organizations.

The first transfer of bison took place in April 2021. Thirteen bison were transferred to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma and one to Tall Bull Memorial Council in Colorado.

Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) has historically held an annual auction to keep its Genesee Park and Daniels Park bison herds at a healthy population size and promote genetic diversity within the managed bison population.

DPR said it will no longer conduct the auction but will work with its tribal partners to select tribes across the country to build and enhance conservation herds on tribal lands.

“The bison is not only a vital link to our past as Northern Arapaho, it is essential to our future as we restore this important part of our culture and heritage,” said Elma Brown, interim CEO of the Northern Arapaho Tribe. “I am honored to participate in this bison transfer and look forward to these beautiful animals joining our existing herd and returning to the home of their ancestors on the Wind River Reservation.”

“The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes are pleased to continue the growth of our historical food source. The Denver Mountain Parks Bison are a shot in the arm for our tribal nations. We wish Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver City Council and Denver Parks and Recreation staff a very gracious Hohóú/Né-á’eše (thank you),” said Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Governor Reggie Wassana.

The donation of surplus Denver Mountain Park bison to American Indian Tribes or American Indian Non-Profit organizations will continue through the year 2030, said DPR in consultation with its tribal partners: the Denver American Indian Commission, the Tall Bull Memorial Council and the InterTribal Buffalo Council.

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

Heavy snow in Interior Alaska has Bison hanging out on plowed roads

Heavy snow in Interior Alaska has Bison hanging out on plowed roads

Bison Range in Alaska interior. Alaska Dept Fish and Game.

Kurt Schmidt heard the bison hooves smack on the car before he saw what happened.

He’d been driving home from work on a small road near his Delta Junction home on a dark January night when he saw a herd of bison ahead. On the other side of the herd, a small car was also waiting to pass the animals.

Schmidt said he stopped his pickup truck and waited. Suddenly, the herd turned around and ran. Several of the huge animals stumbled over the car.

“I don’t think they intended to run over it,” he said. “They pretty much ran into it, slid up the hood and ran up over the top.”

The car’s driver moved forward quickly after the incident, and Schmidt could see hoof marks on the dashboard less than a foot from the steering wheel. The event could have been a lot worse.

Deep snow this winter has caused more bison to move onto plowed roadways in the Delta Junction area, said Bob Schmidt, a wildlife biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

“The animals don’t want to get off the plowed roadways because it’s so hard on them,” he said. “It’s chest-deep snow and it’s cutting up their legs and so they’re using the roadways as travel corridors.”

And more animals on the road has led to an increased number of collisions with vehicles. This year at least nine bison have died after being struck by cars. By comparison, only a couple usually die that way each year, Schmidt said.

The crashes haven’t resulted in any injuries to people, but some vehicles have been significantly damaged, said Austin McDaniel, communications director for the Alaska State Troopers. An adult plains bison can weigh up to 2,000 pounds.

Dodi Wontorski was riding in the passenger seat of her Chevy pickup two weeks ago after she’d picked up her boyfriend at the airport. They were headed home to Tok around 8 or 9 p.m. when Wontorski saw a herd of bison in front of them on the road. By then, it was too late to stop.

“He slammed on the brakes and he was able to at least move the truck toward the smaller ones — the big ones were huge,” she said. “And I thought for sure we were going to die.”

The truck crash injured several bison, she said. The front of the truck crumpled on impact — Wontorski said it’s totaled.

A trooper dispatched two of the bison, Wontorski said.

Had they been in a smaller vehicle or driving fast, the situation would have been much worse, Wontorski said.

“It was scary as can be,” she said.

It’s normal for bison to cross the Alaska Highway each year, said Schmidt, the wildlife biologist, because they move south toward calving grounds in the spring and summer. But bison usually steer clear of humans and roads, he said.

“But now they’re not off the road for hours or even a day or more,” Bob Schmidt said. “They just want to hang out right on the road.”

Kurt Schmidt (no relation to the biologist) said it’s become routine since January for him to run into herds of bison sleeping on or walking along the road.

Plains bison in the Delta River floodplain in 2015. (Alaska Department of Fish and Game)

Bison activity in recent months has been centered on a roughly 20-mile section of the Alaska Highway east of Delta Junction, Bob Schmidt said. The Delta Junction Bison Range is a 9,000-acre protected area about 12 miles southeast of the town, established by the Legislature in 1979 as a place for the herd of several hundred animals to range in winter without damaging agriculture.

This winter, some bison have turned to farmers’ fields because it has been so difficult for them to access forage buried under the snow. There’s a layer of ice up to 2 inches thick within the snowpack that has further complicated foraging.

“Bison are resourceful animals and have stomped out areas in hayfields to get through the ice layer to grasses below,” Clint Cooper, a Fish and Game technician, said in a statement. “However, many of those fields are owned by local farmers, who don’t appreciate the bison’s resourcefulness.”

In hopes of drawing bison away from farms and roads, bulldozer crews from Fish and Game and the Alaska Division of Forestry have been clearing snow from more than 30 miles of trails in the last few months to provide room for the animals to travel and access forage. About 200 acres of fields were also cleared.

Officials said the plan has been working: During a flight in February, biologists saw 70 bison using the fields and trails.

Bob Schmidt said it’s important to give bison a wide berth and allow them to find a space to get off the road.

And one of the most important things is just to drive slowly. Bison are most active at night and can be difficult to see.

“I’m afraid that I’m going to hit one,” Kurt Schmidt said. “I can only see so far and those things at night — they reflect no light whatsoever. So usually, if you’re going 60 when you see them, it’s too late. If they’re in your path you’re going to hit them.”

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

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