America’s ultra-rich want to bring back the bison.
A number of hotshot investors from Wall Street and Silicon Valley have given some $60 million trying to build their very own “American Serengeti” in Montana, according to Bloomberg Pursuits.
An organisation called the American Prairie Reserve is behind the project, which has so far attracted billionaires such as candy heirs Forrest Mars Junior and his brother John, German retail baron Erivan Haub, and a slew of others.
The group hopes to buy up some 3.5 million acres of land (that’s bigger than Yellowstone National Park), and introduce 10,000 purebred bison, along with deer, antelope, coyotes, and prairie dogs.
Eventually, they plan to open it to the public, much like a national park, and built a “safari camp” for visitors to the prairie, Bloomberg Pursuit’s Seth Lubove reports.
But one group is furious about the plan. Local cattle ranchers, who are being offered as much as $2,000 an acre by Prairie Reserve, say the reintroduction of bison would destroy their livelihood.
“In order to build their 3-to-4-million-acre vision, I can’t live here,” rancher Leo Barthelmess Jr. told Bloomberg. “This landscape was broken in the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Ranchers and the Soil Conservation Service worked and brought this prairie back…It doesn’t need to be saved from ranchers; it was already saved by ranchers.”
But with many of the ranchers “land rich and cash poor,” the big money behind the project may prove too tempting to resist.
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