Bison on Comeback Trail
Once nearly extinct, species now approaching 500K
By Paul Stinson,  Newser User
Posted Apr 30, 2008 4:35 PM CDT
Rex Snyder speaks to front office manager, Roberta Reimers about checking-in with his 19-month-old bison named Bert at the Marriott Hotel in Ogden, Utah Thursday, Nov. 29, 2007. Snyder, a Wyoming resident,...   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Once facing extinction in North America, bison are well on their way to a stunning comeback, LiveScience reports. After commercial hunting and habitat loss reduced their population to less than 1,100, the estimated bison population is approaching 500,000—thanks in large part to conservation efforts started more than a century ago by the American Bison Society and the Bronx Zoo.

Although the majority of bison live on ranches, researchers hope development of a “conservation scorecard” that rates areas for bison habitation will play a pivotal role in the population’s return to the wild. Scientists publishing their findings in April’s issue of Conservation Biology have identified Alaska, Canadian grasslands and parts of the Mexican desert as potential bison repopulation areas.