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Unit 3


buffalo in South Dakota


Lesson 4
The Buffalo Today


Thousands of buffalo are alive today. They are no longer endangered. No one needs to worry about the buffalo. It will not become extinct as long as people protect it. 

Buffalo Graph
Buffalo Graph


     There are many herds in South Dakota. A large herd lives in Custer State Park. About one thousand buffalo roam the park. New calves are born in the spring. The herd grows to fifteen hundred animals then. Each fall, park workers round up the animals. They vaccinate them. Then extra buffalo are sold to ranches or parks. 

     Buffalo live on the grasslands at Badlands National Park. They are also at Wind Cave National Park. Each park has over three hundred buffalo.

Buffalo Roundup
Buffalo Roundup


Unit 3 Map
Unit 3 Map


     The Oglala Sioux Tribe owns over five hundred animals. They live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Over two thousand buffalo roam the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. There are herds on other South Dakota reservations, too. 

     People also raise buffalo as a business. The Triple U is a famous buffalo ranch. It is northwest of Fort Pierre. There are about three thousand buffalo there. This herd was in the movie Dances with Wolves.


     Buffalo are raised mostly for food. The meat looks and tastes like beef. It is low in fat. It is good for people.

     The buffalo is important to the United States. Four states use the buffalo on their flag or state seal. It is also on stamps and money. Sports teams use the buffalo for their name. It shows off their strength.

     In South Dakota, many places are named after the buffalo. There is Buffalo County and the towns of Buffalo, Buffalo Gap, and Bison. Buffalo Lakes is named in honor of the buffalo. Many creeks, hills, and streets are also named for the buffalo.

endangered (adj.), threatened with becoming extinct vaccinate (v.), to give shots to protect from disease