Prairie bison subject of next Audubon talk

Dr. Jon Grinnell, associate professor and chair of biology at Gustavus Adolphus College, will present “Bison on the Open Prairies” on Thursday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. at Fairview Community Center, 1910 W. County Road B, Roseville. The presentation is sponsored by St. Paul Audubon.

Although bison once roamed the American plains in the millions, the vast majority of them now exist as small herds of less than 400 individuals on relatively small, private ranches.

Conservationists envision a return of bison to the open prairie, yet for the foreseeable future the conservation challenge with bison is the management of genetic diversity in small herds. To do so, many conservation herds rely on replacing older herd bulls with younger bulls from other lineages, yet these new bulls have no guarantee of achieving the kind of dominance status necessary to get substantial matings.

Grinnell will discuss the findings from six years of data on bison behavior and mating success at Ordway Prairie in South Dakota and the attempts to maximize herd diversity. The results have implications for how small herds are managed, as well as providing a glimpse into the strategies employed by bulls to achieve mating success.

The presentation is free and open to the public. A social time with refreshments begins at 6:45 p.m. For more information, call Linda Goodspeed at 651-647-1452.

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