In 1924, A Film Crew Left 14 Bison On An Island. Today They Constitute A Veritable Colony

There are scenarios and animals that, at first glance, immediately reconnect us to specific places and environments, as if they were an integral part of the landscape. Think, for example, of the bison. anyone can imagine it grazing in the prairies of North America, or in the forests of Canada or Alaska.

But no one expects to find bison … on an island in California, not far from the Mexican coast. Yet these mammals, on Santa Catalina Island, less than 25 miles in the sea across from Los Angeles, are there, and their story is as curious as it is unique.


image credit: lovecatalinaisland / Instagram

It was in 1924 , in the years when silent films were still shown in theaters and where they would soon give way to sound films. Among the many emerging companies , there was also Lasky who, to make a film whose traces are still unclear today, decided to transfer 14 bison to the Californian island .

When filming was over, when it was time for the crew and cast to return home, it became clear that the costs of moving the huge mammals (which can weigh up to 900kg) to the mainland were too high to be sustained, so it was decided to leave them on the island . And this is where they are still found today, after settling and breeding in a habitat quite unusual for them.


image credit: lovecatalinaisland / Instagram

The individuals of these animals (true symbols of the United States of America) continued to multiply until, in the 1960s, the “island community” of bison reached figures of concern for natural balance. and the island’s biodiversity, which has necessitated birth control measures and the movement of several animals to the mainland.


image credit: lovecatalinaisland / Instagram

The bison of Santa Catalina are therefore today a real attraction on the island , both for their “Hollywood” origins and for the singularity of finding these animals in this context. Thanks to birth control , adopted until 2015, their reproduction is under control. So anyone who is in California does not need to go to the endless prairies of Montana or Wyoming to see them: just take a trip to Santa Catalina to meet these animals in all their uniqueness!

via: Catalina Tours

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