Tracking a Keystone Species that's so much more...

Wild Tribute's branding intentionally illuminates our support and advocacy for the stewardship of America's National Parks and public lands. Leveraging the American Bison as the centerpiece of symbolism - amongst land, flora, and wild -  reflects pride in country and our freedoms, lessons learned in our conservation history, and ultimately the places where legacy roams. More selfishly, the Bison collectively is one of our favorite animals. 

Congress created the National Bison Legacy Act, and President Obama signed it into law in 2016, citing the species significance in our “American Story”. The American Bison subsequently has been designated our National Mammal. Bison used to roam the grasslands of our continent in colossal herds, ranging from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico. The tragedy of their near extinction is well noted, but the conservation efforts that began in the mid-20th century are equally worthy of the spotlight. Salvaging mistakes made, with 600 or fewer animals accounted for at their lowest point, today there are 31,000+ Bison regenerating in the wild to take back what once was theirs. This monumental turnaround is a testimony to the hard work and cooperation of America’s land management agencies and conservation institutions.

At Badlands National Park there are nearly 1,200 American Bison that roam within its boundaries. As an integral component of the ecosystem, their ability to withstand the harsh extremes of the South Dakota seasons have enabled a flourishing herd. The Bison disturb and (relentlessly) eat prairie grasses that create an opportune environment for prairie dogs to thrive, which in turn introduces predators from both the land and the sky. Bison are a keystone species that simply don't receive the same enamor or glow as the wolves in Yellowstone. 

Recently, an initiative led by the cohort of The National Park Foundation, The World Wildlife Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, and the Badlands Natural History Association (BHNA) helped expand the boundaries where Bison can graze by 22,000 acres adjacent to and within Badlands National Park. In total, this expanded their habitat to more than 1.5 times the size of Manhattan, NY (nearly 80,000 acres). With our 4 the Parks donations, in partnership with BHNA and the National Park Service, Wild Tribute helped purchase tracking collars that collect critical information utilized to help understand where the herd is moving, and how the herd is using the dedicated land they inhabit.

The American Bison has been moved from “Endangered” to “Near Threatened” as a species, but there’s still considerable work that remains. You can bet Wild Tribute will be there to continue to help. 4 The Parks!

Founded in 1959, Badlands Natural History Association is a not-for-profit organization established to support education and research efforts at Badlands National Park.