Sunday, August 2, 2009

In Search of A Lost Icon

I'm currently reading "American Buffalo; In Search of a Lost Icon" by Steven Rinella and it is fascinating. I don't want to give too much away about the book but I would definitely recommend it - it can be enjoyed for the adventurous aspects of the writers life and travels as well as the historical background of the animal and its relationship to man.

While doing some supplemental research on the history of these animals I came across this article at Cryptomundo - "The Wood Bison Discovery Story" -

"The largest land animal in Canada, the wood bison [shown above], had been disappearing from all over North America for centuries when the last animals were officially declared extinct in 1940. Then in 1957, a wonderful discovery occurred. During a regular air patrol, federal wildlife officers flying over a remote part of the Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta, spotted a small, isolated herd of two hundred wood bison. They had gone completely unnoticed for decades – and had kept physically and genetically separate from their cousins, the plains bison, so familiar to Americans as the buffalo. The wood bison were found about one hundred miles from a new road being built from Alberta to the arctic circle and within fifty miles of a mission station that had existed for a hundred years. Inspection of these animals showed that they were indeed the last remaining pure wood bison (Bison athabascae), an enormous Ice Age species not known to exist in a pure strain anywhere else in the world."

Writer Loren Coleman goes on to say,

"This animal tale is one the late Ivan T. Sanderson and I have both used to demonstrate the simple fact that large animals can remain hidden in North America, quite near humans, relatively speaking." In a way, this goes back to my post called "Some Mystery Left" - written about the mysterious appearance of a mountain lion in the Chicago area.

woods bison
Beautiful photo originally uploaded by rootrider

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