American Bison, also known as Buffalo
American Bison. In 1924, the film “The Vanishing American” was being filmed on Catalina Island, and one of the scenes required bison. The film crew brought 14 bison to the island from the Great Plains with the intention of eventually returning them home. The film’s funds dried up and in the end they simply didn’t have enough money to transport the 10-ton extras back to the Great Plains. So the bison stayed on the island, ate the grass, and propagated. The herd grew to over 600 and was affecting the natural ecosystem. It was determined by the Catalina Island Conservancy (steward of the islands protected lands) that the island could sustain a herd of 150-200. The Conservancy has relocated adults back to the mainland, and initiated a contraception program as a cost effective and humane approach to maintaining the bison population at sustainable levels. This program has been extremely successful. Contraception halted temporarily in 2015 and the Conservancy expects that this year, 2018, will see the first bison calves born on the Island in 5 years!
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From Santa Catalina Island