the hide

the hide

American Bison: Facing The Storm | PBS America

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Description

7.50pm, Monday 15 August on Freesat 156, Sky 534 & Virgin 276 This documentary by Doug Hawes-Davis chronicles man's tempestuous relationship with the bison, a symbol of the Wild West that once populated America’s plains in the tens of millions. For 10,000 years, Native Americans had a sacred relationship with the bison, relying on it for food, clothing, and shelter. All this changed with the arrival of European Americans in the 19th century. As the hide of the buffalo became a prized commodity, the continent’s largest land mammal found itself increasingly in the sights of the hunter’s rifle. The vast herds of bison were almost wiped out – indeed, by the end of the century the population had dwindled to less than 1,000. Miraculously, the creature returned from the brink of extinction. Most of the estimated 500,000 remaining bison in North America are now farmed. Some exist in semi-captivity, but the future of the species remains uncertain. So can bison survive and thrive in the 21st century? Many cattle ranchers view the animals as a threat, yet modern wildlife conservationists see the bison as the great hope of the Great Plains. They hope to restore wild herds to the Native American lands, an undertaking that may not only evoke a powerful symbol of a lost world but also point to a more sustainable future.