Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mother Knows Best

I dont have a digital photo taken by me of a buffalo!! Thats kinda sad....I saw recent blogs with photos of Buffalo made me smile..and it brought to mind the whole plight of our American Buffalo. IF we do nothing can we learn from the Buffalo, the Eagle, and the Wolf, that nearly killing off an entire species is a big mistake! The balance of nature is so precarious.

The great grasslands of this country are disappearing. Most of it is being plowed under to grow more subsized corn and wheat and up until the recent mortgage bust large tracts of grasslands were being developed with cookie cutter homes, and urbanization blight--

Our grasslands are dependent on an ecosystem that was in place before white men walked on the North American continent. Buffalo is a grazing and herding large mammal. They travel over an area and graze it, and while they do this they disturb the ground, and they distribute manure, and distribute undigested seeds... and this makes the ground more fertile. Once a herd moves over an area an inborn knowledge tells them to turn around and go back, the clipping they gave the grass, the fertilizing and reseeding will nourish that land and provide even better grazing, so 2 weeks later they will circle the herd and come back and re-graze the area. This is what kept our grasslands fertile and plentiful without man's interference for centuries. Then disaster struck and the herds were decimated for sport and profit. The grasslands began to shrink...although you may not consider it, the westward movement of the railroads provided the means for the demise of the buffalo herds and the Wolf, as well as the Native Americans.

The Buffalo kept the grassland revitalized and the death of the buffalo began the death of the prairie grasslands. Along comes a possible savior and whammo again we seem to be ignorant to the importance of this animal in his natural habitat!! Cattle are not native to our grasslands! They were brought in, most of the public lands are managed by the ranchers and the Dept of the Interior...who seem to be in bed together on every issue that pops up from the Coyote to the Prairie Dog.

This native species is a very beneficial animal in the grasslands of this country. It may appear that they only make holes and ruts in the earth with their many tunnels but in reality, they are bringing minerals and nutrients up to the surface, aerating the ground, reseeding the grasses, and fertilizing the soil! While cattle are moved in and out of areas by man....thats not a natural process...cattle are not NATIVE to North America but the buffalo are/were therefore we know that Cattle can not sustain the proper ecosystem balance!!

Prairie dogs can! They may not be as efficient as the Buffalo, but their colonization acts as a natural fire barrier, and the burrows provided homes for other species such as the burrowing owl! When prairie dogs relocate their dens, the areas left behind flourish with wildflowers and an abundance of grasses and become a balanced ecosystem again. Areas where Prairie dogs are killed out by ranchers, sport shootist, and other jerks lie dormant and instead become spots of erosion and very little growth, the natural cycle has been disrupted as it was by the giant grazers, the buffalo. The prairie dog is doing what the buffalo did a century ago, but it takes some far sight to recognize the good the prairie dogs are doing. this one below does not look healthy, probably a flea infestation.

...I saw the grass was more lush, more wildflowers were growing and I personally believe its due to the prairie dogs replenishing of the compacted soil around the school house...and along the bike path. They used to mow the grass there but now they dont cause the prairie dogs are living there!! The grass is returning to its natural state-

Some people are starting to see the light and instead of putting out poison as our Federal Govt subsidizes doing, they are actually dusting prairie dog dens with flea killer to protect the prairie dogs and help kill out the fleas that are carrying the plague. Prairie dogs are not the bad guys in this just as the WOLF was not the bad guy. They need protection just as the Buffalo and the Eagle did--we have to learn from our mistakes otherwise what good are we as stewards of this Planet? In this case and every case Mother Earth Knows BEST!

In many areas prairie dogs are being murdered with the blessings of the US govt. They are being eradicated with the threat of spreading the bubonic plague, due to flea infestations. They are not being protected and the beneficial work they do is now starting to be missed on the ever shrinking grasslands as they move westward looking for a place to live.

I have seen the work first hand. Near my sisters home in CO is a an old school house. It is right next to the Rio Grand Bike Path, a rails to trails reclamation recreation area. In the past 20 yrs that Ive been visiting the area I have noticed that Prairie dogs have begun to thrive along this bike path and in the area of the old school house. This year I saw pups out playing in the grasses, and I saw something else...



  1. Amen! I could not agree with you more.

  2. Excellent post Dixxe.

    Unfortunately mankind seem to be doing more damage than ever , to this great planet.


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