FORT COLLINS, Colo. - A herd of genetically pure bison will be released to the Northern Colorado plains next month, bringing an end to a yearslong effort to return home a species once on the brink of extinction.
The Laramie Foothills Conservation Herd, made up of 10 bison, will be moved to Fort Collins' Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Larimer County's Red Mountain Open Space. The move will take place on Nov. 1, National Bison Day.
"Hunted to near extinction in the 1800s and later bred with cattle accidentally and intentionally, bison herds without some level of cattle ancestry are rare," organizers said.
The bison in the Laramie Foothills Conservation Herd were born using assistive reproductive technology.
Colorado State University researchers joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture in using genes from quarantined bison in Yellowstone National Park to create disease-free, genetically pure bison.
The herd will roam 800 acres of their species' native land.