Bison Calves Enhance Prairie Restoration in Will County


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Wilmington, IL – A delightful springtime event unfolds at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie as new bison calves, affectionately dubbed “Red Dogs” due to their reddish-tan coats, begin their journey within the prairie’s nurturing expanse. 

Captured by Elizabeth Kovel, a rangeland technician, these calves symbolize the flourishing ecosystem and restoration efforts in Illinois. Beyond their endearing first steps, their natural behaviors, like grazing patterns and soil-disturbing wallows, are vital to the prairie restoration efforts. These actions promote diverse habitats suitable for grassland birds and other pollinators, essential for a thriving ecosystem.

According to the USDA Forest Service, Bison are not merely passive inhabitants; they are active participants in shaping their environment. The recent fitting of GPS collars on six bison provides researchers with data on how these majestic creatures interact with the prairie, especially in areas managed differently for conservation. These insights help adjust restoration strategies, benefiting both the prairie and its varied inhabitants. With public education as a cornerstone of conservation efforts, visitors to Midewin can engage with the prairie ecosystem, sometimes with the bison just a safe distance away. 

For those unable to visit, the prairie comes to life through a live webcam, available 24/7, offering a window into this magnificent landscape and its bison herd. This initiative, a partnership between the National Forest Foundation and the USDA Forest Service, enriches the public’s understanding and appreciation of these important conservation efforts.

To catch a glimpse of the majestic bison and watch as they nurture the next generation, you can watch them live every single day on the Midewin Prairie’s live webcam here: Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Bison Webcam.


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