My story about the bison of Yellowstone National Park aired last night on All Things Considered. An extended look at the story was aired on Montana Public Radio as well.
I haven't made an official tally yet, but I'm sure I've interviewed over a dozen people about bison in the last few months, and I have more interviews scheduled. Most if not all of these voices will be heard on Threshold -- my new podcast, due out next fall.
But a news story is really different from a podcast episode. You can't put a dozen voices into three-and-a-half minutes. And you can't tell the whole story -- only one little slice of it. So from my perspective, the piece airing tonight is an appetizer. A little teaser that will (hopefully) get this issue on the radar and pique listeners' curiosity about what will happen next.
Pictures of some of the people (and bison) featured in these first stories are below. And if you're wondering why you should care about YNP bison, I made a quick little overview here.
You can find more pictures here.
So, the appetizer has been served. Now it's time for me to dive into making the main course. This isn't just one story, and it's not just about bison. It's about wildness and worldview, differing interpretations of the past and alternate visions for the future. Passions run high on all sides.
At the center of it all, there are these huge creatures, surviving brutal winters, rearing their young, chomping on grass, stubbornly keeping themselves alive. Five hundred years ago, there were 30 to 60 million bison. A century ago, there were 23. Now, there are 5,000 or so. What does the future hold for them? Some of the people pictured here will help answer that question this year. And you'll have a chance to weigh in too. I'll be tracking it every step of the way, and bringing you the story in all its complexity. I really can't wait to introduce you to all the fascinating characters I've met.