Former endangered animal continues to grow

Former endangered animal continues to grow
Caprock Canyon State Park is welcoming 20 to 30 healthy baby calves. Source / KFDA
Caprock Canyon State Park is welcoming 20 to 30 healthy baby calves. Source / KFDA
An area state park that started off with only six original Robert Goodnight bison now has over 150. Source / KFDA
An area state park that started off with only six original Robert Goodnight bison now has over 150. Source / KFDA
"I've been in the park for 23 years, I've been watching them develop and seen how they changed from wild animals to how they act with people," Herdsman Chester Hawkins said. Source / KFDA
"I've been in the park for 23 years, I've been watching them develop and seen how they changed from wild animals to how they act with people," Herdsman Chester Hawkins said. Source / KFDA
"Visitors can get out of their tent and see down at the valley and they can see these bison grazing down there and it is such a beautiful sight," State Park Police Dawson Enloe said. Source / KFDA
"Visitors can get out of their tent and see down at the valley and they can see these bison grazing down there and it is such a beautiful sight," State Park Police Dawson Enloe said. Source / KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - An area state park that started with a handful of bison descended from the herd saved by pioneer Charles Goodnight now has more than 150.

Caprock Canyon State Park is welcoming 20 to 30 healthy baby calves descended from the 1800's herd.

During Goodnight's time the Texas Bison was in danger of extinction. The state park has one out of the five nationally recognized herds credited for saving the bison in North America.

"They started off in a bull pasture which was just a couple of 100 acres," said Dawson Enloe, a state park policeman. "About five to six years ago they got up to about 1,000 acres and it has been a slow process. Caprock has been growing and now the bison roam the whole park."

The wild bison faced many challenged when they were first introduced to the park.

"People are always talking about being scared the animals might hurt them," Chester Hawkins said. "I am the same way, but I also don't want the visitors to accidentally run over one or spook them into a fence where the bison can hurt themselves."

Hawkins adds he has enjoyed watching the wild buffaloes develop a relationship with visitors.

"We've had zero instances, from my knowledge, of any visitors and bison accidents," Enloe mentions. "We have strict rules. One of which is for visitors to keep about 50 feet from the bison and we keep them pretty strict."

This natural habitat attracts the attention of visitors, who can see the animals in a natural habitat.

"They come to see the bison," Enloe said. "They want to come, and they want to see their herd and see how the herd is doing. They want to see out in the wild when they're camping. They can get out of their tent and see down the valley, see the bison grazing down there. It is such a beautiful sight."

The park uses a genetic chart to to watch the herd and keep its genetics pure. Once a year, the animals receive an overall health evaluation, a process that includes regular shots and pregnancy tests.

Earlier this week, U.S senators introduced the bison as the U.S. National Mammal.

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