Saturday, March 11, 2017

Genesee Bison Herd - Majestic Animals

American bison

There's a new trail in the Front Range foothills tracing the high, chainlink fence that defines the Genesee Park boundary. Every so often, a red danger sign warns the curious visitor to stay back at least ten feet.

Inhabiting this extensive reserve, a herd of scraggly creatures must be contemplated with caution. They appear indifferent at first but an unpredictable charge launched by one of the massive beasts could do some serious damage.

In the year 1800, 35 million buffalo roamed across the vast grasslands of North America. After nearly a century of senseless slaughter committed by commercial hunters, only 500 of these majestic animals remained.

With the disastrous consequences becoming obvious, the resilient survivors were rounded up and placed, mercifully, within the protective confines of the world's first national park - Yellowstone.

At about the same time, Denver was building a series of mountain parks to offer citizens an escape from urban stress. In 1914, the city purchased two bulls and five cows from that beleaguered Wyoming herd and introduced them into the newly created Genesee preserve.

Casually grazing just west of town, the Genesee Bison Herd features about 60 purebred descendants of those original seven. It's a privilege to be able to observe, so close to home, such a rare and precious animal.

An extensive reserve

A herd of scraggly creatures

They appear indifferent

This bull could do some serious damage

Millions once roamed the vast grasslands

Majestic animals

Resilient survivors

An escape from urban stress

Casually grazing

A rare and precious animal

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