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Home, home on the range, where the beefalo roam...

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The Wall Street Journal has a somewhat serious article about a crafty herd of hybrid buffalo who have moved into the Grand Canyon park lands. The combination of lush grass, water and no hunting have proven attractive to the lusty beasts. The herd is estimated to grow at 30% per year.


The critters are a hybrid of cattle and bison, introduced in Arizona in the early 1900s. Initially maintained on grazing land, they were used as a variant of beef cattle. Some escaped, and made it to the park. The article notes the crafty critters understand exactly where the boundaries (and hunting) begin. By now, the genetic mix has thinned to create a mostly bison animal as they mate with local bison.


The size of the herd has strained water sources in the dry upper areas of the park, creating concern about several endangered species. The park service has attempted to relocate bison, but they returned within a few days. They tried building fences (ha!).


Like the Czech red deer they seem to understand geography, and borders which are not obvious. They graze right up to the property line. They bolt when they hear a car outside the park boundary, but ignore the same car inside the park.


The buffalo ranch outside Flemington NJ has 20 foot high cable stayed fences with telephone poles in concrete stands as their second line of defense against similar big guys. The first line of defense is a stone running track (they don't like loose stones) topped with an electrified fence.





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