PAWHUSKA, Okla. — Spring is here and new faces are popping up at The Nature Conservancy's Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Pawhuska. The first baby bison of the year was seen walking closely alongside its mother on Tuesday morning.
Consisting of almost 40,000 acres, the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is considered to be the largest protected remnant of tallgrass prairies left in the world. They first introduced up to 300 bison in 1993 and have since grown to 1,600 bison roaming on its preserve.
The preserve's staff is predicting up to 500 more calves to come later this spring. Over time, visitors can see the calves chasing around, battling and butting each other, kicking, and racing as more and more are born.
“It’s always great to see fresh, fuzzy faces on the preserve,” says Bob Hamilton, Tallgrass Prairie Preserve Director. “They’re not only cute, but they play historical and modern roles in maintaining the prairie ecosystem. The fire-grazing interaction is what maintains a wide variety of grassland patch types, thus providing habitat for the complete array of native plants and animals.”
While anyone can see the new baby bison in the coming weeks, they urge some caution. For the public’s safety, the preserve's staff says visitors must stay in their car when they are not on designated hiking trails.
Bison are kept away from hiking trails and other public areas. Though they may appear friendly and cute, bison at the Preserve are still wild animals and are not to be approached.
Besides spotting bison roaming through the preserve, there are scenic turnouts, hiking trails, picnic tables, and breezeway information at the historic bunkhouse.
The preserve is open daily from dawn to dusk with no charge for admittance and can be accessed through county roads.
To learn more or plan a visit, head to TNC's website for more information.
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