The verdict is in — genetically speaking — on a troublesome bison herd in the Grand Canyon.
The state-owned bison herd has been straying from its range north
of the canyon and venturing into Grand Canyon National Park (HCN,
4/28/03: Bison arrive in Grand Canyon uninvited). The state wants
to leave the herd on the land because it brings in $40,000 a year
in hunting license fees. But park scientists complain that the
animals have been wallowing in riparian areas and trampling native
The scientists thought the state would be willing
to deport or kill the bison if they could prove that the animals
were bison-cow half-breeds, left over from a “cattalo”
breeding experiment. In November, scientists got the news they were
waiting for: Preliminary tests showed that more than 90 percent of
the animals do in fact harbor cow genes. The fate of the herd has
not been decided.