The door of the gooseneck trailer clanged open and for a moment, the only sound was a lacerating wind whipping snow across the plains and canyons of Badlands National Park. A slew of onlookers waited in hushed anticipation. And then—as though a signaling bell chimed—four massive, majestic bison barreled through the opening and into the wild.
This is the first time that bison have touched this land since 1877.
Bison in Badlands National Park now have an additional 22,553 acres to roam thanks to a passionate group of supporters who want to see America’s national mammal thrive.
“Bison are North America’s largest and most iconic mammal, and WWF is thrilled to be part of an effort to create the second largest herd in the National Park system,” said Martha Kauffman, managing director of WWF’s Northern Great Plains program. “The project has touched the imaginations of people across the US, and the matching dollars that WWF has provided wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of our supporters.”
Over 2,500 WWF donors and those from partner organizations raised nearly $750,000 to build 45 miles of new fence that extends bison habitat in the park from 57,640 acres to 80,193 acres—an area more than one-and-a-half times the size of Manhattan Island. Almost 1,200 of these extraordinary animals live in this space.