Celebrate World Wildlife Day
Written by Marcus Heerdt
March 2, 2020

World Wildlife Day is March 3, 2020. The United Nations created this day “to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals.” Here at the Chamber, we receive many questions about the area’s wildlife from visitors to the area. The animals that visitors ask most about are bears, mountain lions, and of course, bison.

“Are there bears here?” is usually the first question. More on that here: https://www.custersd.com//blog/Are-there-bears-here?

After that, the second question is, “How about mountain lions?”

Yes, the Black Hills region and South Dakota in general is home to many mountain lions. The population, once listed as a threatened species, has rebounded since the 1970s. A recent count conducted in 2018 reported the Black Hills mountain lion population at somewhere between 300 and 500. Mountain lions are very elusive, and you may feel their presence more than see them.

“Where are the buffalo at?”

The American Bison once roamed freely throughout what is now the United States. Currently in western South Dakota, Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park, Badlands National Park, and Bear Butte State Park manage bison herds. But beware…here at the Chamber, we have a sign with a bison ramming an unsuspecting tourist with the words: “Warning! Dangerous! Wild and Unpredictable! Do not approach! These animals are awesome to view but stay inside your vehicle! They can run at 35 mph, three times faster than any human!”

Locally, Custer State Park will be celebrating World Wildlife Day this year on Saturday, March 7 from 1-4 p.m. at the Visitor Center. The day will include biologist talks, a telemetry demonstration, hands-on crafts for kids and a student poster display.

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