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BISON
 
The Conservancy is responsible for managing its free-roaming bison, with the aim of maintaining a vigorous and healthy herd, while minimizing their impact on the important wildlands habitat of Catalina Island.  The Conservancy is also committed to recognizing the bison’s significance on Catalina as a heritage herd woven into the Island’s cultural and economic fabric

Catalina Island is in the grips of an extreme drought and the bison are getting hit hard with low food and water supplies. We have set-up an emergency relief program to import feed to the herd and place water troughs around the Island. Shipments of feed are costing $8000 each. Please donate today to help our beloved free range bison herd get through the drought.

Herd Management
A primary consideration in this balance is the size of the herd.  Based upon studies conducted in 2004, the Conservancy has determined that the Island can support a healthy bison population of approximately 150 individuals. 

In 2009, the Conservancy initiated a contraception program as a cost effective and humane approach to maintaining the bison population. This program has been extremely successful and the Conservancy has united with researchers at California State University Fullerton to develop a long-term bison management plan and investigate the potential for this approach to be utilized in other areas.  

Conservancy biologist loading a dart with the immunocontraceptive vaccine porcine zona pellucida (PZP). The contraceptive vaccine is administered remotely via a CO2 powered dart gun to female bison (cows) annually.

During 2014-2015, the Conservancy aims to accomplish the following: 
  1. Investigate the reversibility of the contraceptive vaccine. This information is essential to developing a long-term approach to maintaining a stable bison population.
  2. Investigate the breeding behavior of bison on Catalina in response to the application of the contraceptive vaccine.
  3. Fit five bison cows with satellite-linked global positioning system (GPS) collars in order to assess movement patterns and resource use, monitor behavior and collect fecal samples.
The Conservancy anticipates that this project will require funding of $125,000 for the next two years.  Some contributions have been received for this project leaving $55,000 sought from contributions and donations.
To make a donation in support of the Bison Contraception Program, note it on your check and mail it to: Catalina Island Conservancy, PO Box 2739, Avalon, CA 90704. Or specify your wishes in the special instructions box and donate online.


Bison in the news...

PRINT 
Innovations Report 12/19/13
KCET 12/18/13
Red Orbit 12/18/13
Christian Science Monitor 11/30/09  
Catalina Islander 11/27/09
Los Angeles Times 11/20/09
Wall Street Journal 11/20/09  
Long Beach Press Telegram 11/19/09

WEB
eCatalina 11/20/09
NBC New York 11/25/09
KPCC 12/3/09

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ABC News
CNN National News
KTLA-TV News

VIDEO
About the Bison Contraception Program




 

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