The history of the Old West is inextricably linked to the cattle of the Old West, as well as the American Bison. And since Indian Cliffs Ranch enjoys capitalizing on their Wild West image, you just know they had to have examples on site.
There are today about a half million American Bison in North America today, of which only 15,000 are free-roaming animals in the wild.
But compare that to numbers in the 18th Century — 60 million. By 1840 that number had dwindled to 35 million, and just forty years later less than 400,000 remained.
In just one ten-year period — from 1870 to 1880 — 93% of North American’s Bison were killed off. Numbers dropped to 395,000 from 5.5 million just a decade before.
At the dawn of the 20th Century only 300 of these creatures remained.
Then there are the animals of the American ranching industry from the 1800s, beginning with the iconic Texas Longhorn:
Another example of Old West ranching is the American Brahman, a breed that originated with cattle imported from India in the 1850s.
Don’t think that the Indian Cliffs Ranch Zoo only houses cattle and bison, however. There are other animals here as well. Animals important to other forms of ranching popular in South and Central America.
Join my next week and we’ll take the Indian Cliffs “Hayride” tour of a stone ranch house straight out of the 1880s, and even visit a movie set where Indian Cliffs Ranch subbed for Iraq.