Scientists, Tribes Team Up To Revive Purebred Bison Population

“Bison are not what you think they are.

The bison steaks at the swish restaurant downtown, bison burgers from A&W, bison briskets from the farmers market: Not bison. Commercial bison – animals from which today’s bison products are made – are hybrid creatures. Their bison genes are polluted with cattle DNA.

Purebred bison – direct descendants of the animals that blanketed North America before colonization – are scant, protected and short on genetic diversity. Today, there are only about 1,500 purebred plains bison in Canada’s conservation herds, all descendants of 50 animals that managed to dodge hybridization in the early 1900s.”

Carrie Tait reports for the Toronto Globe and Mail January 9, 2020.