African Safari Wildlife Park last weekend celebrated National Bison Day with a fundraiser for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). One dollar from each vehicle that passed through the Park’s gates was donated to NWF, which is working to restore American bison populations on public and tribal lands in Montana.
Once numbering around 60 million individuals, hunting had pushed American bison close to extinction by the late 19th century. Conservation efforts have brought the species back from the brink, but habitat loss, a genetic bottleneck and competition with domestic cattle all represent challenges to the continued survival of the American bison.
A herd of 24 American bison, which includes several rare white individuals, range freely in the Park’s Drive-Thru Safari. The animals are frequently spotted approaching vehicles in search of food.
“Bison are some of our most charismatic, beloved Park residents, and we’ll gladly take any chance we can get to celebrate them,” said Park director Kelsey Keller. “We’re proud to do our part to raise awareness about these animals and help protect them in their natural range.”