'Genetically Pure' Bison Now Roaming Colorado Prairie 

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Busloads of spectators have been rolling up to a small wooden corral In Colorado's Larimer County this week to get a glimpse of 10 bison. 

"This is kind of our mini-Yellowstone, so to speak," Mark Sears, Fort Collins, Colo. natural areas program manager, told the Fort Collins Coloradoan

But these aren't just any buffalo. The Coloradoan reports the herd, dubbed the Laramie Foothills Conservation Herd, are "genetically pure bison," a project six years in the making and the first of its kind in Colorado.

Working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Colorado State University "scrubbed" Yellowstone bison semen and embryos of brucellosis, "creating genetically pure, disease-free bison."

Now, officials said, it's time for the bison to roam free. It turns out, however, that when they swung open the corral's gates to allow the animals to wander into a 1,000-acre prairie, the bison were reluctant to  leave the confined quarters. It wasn't until USDA and CSU officials entered the corral and waved their arms at the bison that had been standing frozen, did the animals start galloping into what the Coloradoan called a "sun-drenched prairie."

The Coloradoan reports the bison will be a "seed herd" for future growth. Nine females should give birth in spring 2016 and the lone male is expected to be returned to CSU in a couple of years to father more bison.

Tourists are more than welcome to visit the prairie natural area, about 25 miles north of Fort Collins, Colo. Guides are on site from dawn to dusk, through Nov. 30.

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