Colorado scientists have produced a genetically pure Yellowstone bison, launching an embryo transfer project to resurrect wild herds that 100 years ago nearly went extinct.
The 125-pound reddish-brown male calf unveiled Thursday at the Bronx Zoo in New York is expected to be the first of many bison that do not carry genetic traits of cattle.
Zoo officials say they’re working with conservationists to acquire vast tracts of prairie grasslands around the western U.S. — land where newly engineered pure herds can graze, wallow and propagate.
The idea is to produce enough calves to also supply other zoos and species conservation groups working to restore bison herds, said Pat Thomas, curator and associate director of the Bronx Zoo. Most of the 200,000 or so bison in North America today are genetically tainted due to interbreeding with cattle.