Researchers studying bison return to IL - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Researchers studying bison return to IL

(Source: Southern Illinois University Carbondale) (Source: Southern Illinois University Carbondale)

After nearly 200 years, Illinois is once again a home where the buffalo, or bison, roam.

The wild bison were brought to the state from nature preserves in Iowa, Missouri and South Dakota in October.

This is thanks to Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a conservation group.

Researchers from SIU are already involved with the project with The Nature Conservancy on its Nachusa Grasslands, a 2,500-acre area of native and restored prairie in northern Illinois where a diverse herd of 30 bison were recently re-introduced.

The animals are wandering a 500-acre part of the area, with another 1,000 acres opening up for them in 2015, once fencing is finished.

TNC started the effort more than two decades ago, acquiring thousands of acres of agricultural land that had once been prairie and returning it to its natural state.

Jeff Walk, science director with TNC in Illinois, said seven female bison have been fitted with GPS collars, which will form the basis for analysis conducted by SIU researchers.

For more information on the project, you can click here.

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