American Prarie's mission is to create one of the largest nature reserves in the U.S. This will serve as a refuge for people and wildlife, forever.
Their organization is comprised of conservationists, scientists and adventurers, joined in a common vision for connecting people to the short grass prarie of Montana.
The Five Pillars of American Prarie's Vision:
- Assemble the Land: A common goal to conserve the landscape for wildlife and people.
- Focus on Biodiversity: Temperate grassland prarie is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world.
- Collaborate: Amongst non-profits, Indigenous communities, neighbors, local communities, federal and state land managers and prarie enthusiasts all working together.
- Share with the Public: Dedicated to ensuring people have a deep appreciation for the landscape and its inhabitants.
- Donor Funded Organization: The public's trust fuels American Prarie's mission. Spending donations responsibly with long-term focus.
Bison-also commonly known as buffalo-once numbered in the millions on the Great Plains and nearly vanished in the late 1800s. As the continent’s largest land mammal, bison were crucial in shaping the prairie ecosystem. Today the species is listed as “near threatened” and “ecologically extinct,” meaning they no longer play their critical roles in shaping prairie biodiversity.
American Prarie restores bison to their historic habitat on their lands, providing visitors a chance to experience our national mammal, the majestic species that played a central role in the culture and spirituality of the Indigenous People of the Great Plains and astounded the earliest explorers. American Prarie reintroduced bison on these lands in 2005, returning a species that had been gone from the landscape for more than 120 years.
Currently, bison herd sizes and management are restricted in this region of Montana because of factors like species designation and land use requirements. So rather than focusing on an exact number of animals, it is important to prioritize the ecological role of the species and the impact on the landscape. That being said, American Prarie relies on science and research to indicate potential herd sizes, this is used to monitor ecological progress. Preliminary estimates indicate that the 3.2-million-acre (5,000 square miles) American Prairie's vision could support tens of thousands of bison. But that number is likely decades away from being possible. Current research, the Vermejo Statement, which estimates that a herd of 5,000 or more will provide an exceptional contribution to bison conservation and ecological recovery.
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