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Catalina Wants To Boost Tourist Attracting Bison Herd, But Biologists Are Skeptical




A herd of European bison roams through a forest in the Rothaargebirge mountain range on May 5, 2014 near Bad Berleburg, Germany.
A herd of European bison roams through a forest in the Rothaargebirge mountain range on May 5, 2014 near Bad Berleburg, Germany.
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

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Santa Catalina Island, located nearly 30 miles southwest of Long Beach, will soon have new residents: two pregnant female bison. The island serves as a home to a few thousand residents and a free-range herd of bison, which is maintained by the Catalina Island Conservancy.

In 2003, biologists Julie King and Calvin Duncan helped the conservancy launch a contraception initiative to bring the number of bison on the island within a more manageable range. Many tourists come to the island to view bison in open surroundings, although sightings are increasingly rare due to the sheer size of the island and the contraception initiative.

According to an article in the L.A. Times, the conservancy’s board is working with the Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd to incorporate the new bison into the herd in December. Today, we’ll talk with wildlife biologist Calvin Duncan and the president from the conservancy about the implications of bringing two non-native bison into the herd. Questions or comments? Join the conversation at 866-893-5722.

Guests:

Tony Budrovich, president and CEO of the Catalina Island Conservancy

Calvin Duncan, wildlife biologist who formerly co-led the bison management at Catalina Island Conservancy from 2008 to 2017, which included the contraception program