DIA: home on the Range for Bison?

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Why herds of wild bison may soon roam free at Denver International Airport


Airports and wildlife are not usually compatible. In fact, many have very active and comprehensive wildlife management programs to protect the animals from the interaction with planes.

The management of Denver International is considering bringing a herd of Bison from the nearby Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. The Arsenal is now a 15,000-acre area that shares a border with the DIA. With about 53 acres of unused land, the airport might accept the animals as “tenants”.  DIA and its neighbor are studying how to contain the herd.

The wild bison were reintroduced in 2007 on the Arsenal grounds with the goal of conserving their genes and to study their function in the prairie ecosystem. It also helps that people love to look at the massive animals whose population was once decimated by overhunting.

The manager of the Refuge suggested that the Bison might serve as an attraction to the passengers at the airport. In addition to being the face of a nickel, the beasts are considered an icon of the West.

Obviously, the manager is unaware of the DIA iconic Blue Mustang  sculpture . The 32’ tall fierce horse, with a neon red eye, might terrify the Bison. Denver is also home to a football team; the Broncos and the team’s colors are blue and orange.

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