Thursday, February 7, 2013

Buffalo Bayou without buffaloes - American Bison hard to find these days

Where have all the Buffaloes gone?

Not sure who gave Buffalo Bayou its name and whether the obvious explanation holds water. The American Bison was once abundant throughout North America and the largest land-borne mammal. Thanks to industrial-scale slaughter at the hands of the white man, the bison was almost on the brink of extinction in the early part of the past century when conservation efforts were finally undertaken to preserve the iconic American beast and assure its survival.  

While Buffalo Bayou teems with other wildlife, there are no buffalo anywhere to be seen on its banks today except for the word “Buffalo” on bayou name markers on roads,  bridges, and trails, and some commercial signs of companies that have appropriated the name.  
But a few specimen of the iconic large grazer that once roamed the vast lands from Canada to Mexico in huge herds can be seen at Bear Creek Pioneers Park, which also hosts a number of other native and more exotic species, most notably birds, along with ponies, donkeys, sheep and goats

But Bear Creek, as much as Buffalo Bayou, may be have become a misnomer as civilization encroached on the wilderness and natural habitats. The bears at Bear Creek seem to have gone the way of the buffalo on the banks of the Buffalo Bayou; and there aren’t even any in the fenced areas and pens that house other animals there, including the two live exemplars of American Bison and farm animals such as goats and sheep

Texas Buffaloes on the Map - Bear Creek Pioneers Park with animal pens and pastures in West Houston

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