Things are looking up for the American bison in the north of Mexico: a second herd of the large mammals, also known as American buffalo, has been successfully reintroduced in Coahuila.
“After almost 100 years of absence of the American bison on the plains of Coahuila, in 2020 the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas [Conanp] achieved the establishment of a second herd of these beautiful animals,” Environment Minister María Luisa Albores wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
“Look at how they welcomed 2021,” she added in a post that showed the herd in a snow-covered landscape on a new postcard.
Tens of millions of American bison once roamed Mexico, the United States and Canada but by 1880 there were only about 1,000 of the mammals in the wild in Mexico due to destruction of their habitat, disease and hunting, according to Conanp.
Just over a decade ago, efforts began to reintroduce buffalo to the north of Mexico. In November 2009, a herd of 23 bison from the Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota was released in the Janos Biosphere Reserve in Chihuahua thanks to a project in which environmental authorities, universities, scientists and the United States National Park Service participated.
In March 2020, Conanp, in conjunction with other environmental authorities, released a herd of 19 bison from Janos into the El Carmen nature reserve in Coahuila, a private trans-boundary conservation area in Mexico and the United States owned by the cement company Cemex.
“The establishment of herds in Mexico contributes significantly to the recovery of the species on a continental scale,” Conanp said.
However, environmental authorities acknowledge that a lot more needs to be done to ensure the long-term survival of the buffalo in Mexico. The clearing of land for agriculture and hunting remain a threat to the species, which were once an important food source for the native peoples who populated North America prior to the arrival of Europeans.