Two pregnant bison are joining Catalina’s iconic herd to help bolster their dwindling numbers

The herd of 100 on Catalina are descended from 14 bison brought over for a movie shoot in the 1920s. Photo courtesy of Catalina Island Conservancy

About 100 years ago, a couple of movies were shot on Catalina Island. They needed some buffalo to roam in the background. When the production packed up, the animals stayed. And now they’re a big tourist draw.

The bison live on the part of the island that’s protected by the environmental nonprofit the Catalina Island Conservancy. But they haven’t produced babies in seven years. So conservationists are bringing two pregnant bison to the island to help the herd survive — to the delight of Catalina boosters.

But not everyone wants them there. Biologists are concerned since more bison means a greater threat to the native plants that exist only on Catalina.

Credits

Guest:
Tony Budrovich - President, Catalina Island Conservancy

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Caleigh Wells, Angie Perrin