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Conservation of Grassland Vertebrates

  • Fritz L. Knopf
  • Fred B. Samson
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 125)

Abstract

The Great Plains grasslands of North America have historically been referred to as the western hemisphere counterpart of the Serengeti Plains of Africa, with herds of roaming ungulates including bison (Bison bison), elk (Cervus elaphus), deer (Odocoileus spp.), and pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) and an associated large carnivore assemblage including grizzly bear (Ursus arctos), gray wolf (Canis lupus), and coyote (Canis latrans). Native peoples lived in harmony within this landscape, growing vegetables on the central and eastern Plains and no-madically hunting the bison herds of the western Plains. Estimates of bison numbers have been as high as 60 million. Although we will never know for certain, surely they numbered in the tens of millions (Shaw 1995). The number of carnivores also is uncertain, but Native Americans noted that wolves alone killed one-third of all bison calves each year (De Smet 1905).

Keywords

Great Plain Tallgrass Prairie Northern Great Plain Eastern Plain Western Plain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fritz L. Knopf
  • Fred B. Samson

There are no affiliations available

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