The Nebraska Sandhills
Large Mammals
Historically, millions of bison roamed the landscape in the Sandhills, but today they have been replaced almost entirely by cattle, an animal which fulfills their ecological niche in a similar manner. Now days you can only find bison at a number of refuges and a few private ranches throughout the Sandhills. One of the largest bison herds can be found at the Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve.  Elk, like bison, used to roam freely across the open dunes, but now can only be found at the Ft. Niobrara Wildlife Refuge.
Both white-tail and mule deer live in the wild of the Sandhills, easily jumping over or ducking under the barbed-wire fences meant for cattle. Pronghorn antelope, at one time extinct from the Sandhills, are moving back in. While still rare, they can be spotted occasionally.
The grazing by these large mammals play  an important role in maintaining biodiversity in the Sandhills. Areas grazed at different times and in different intensities allow for different communities of plants to form, and consequently different insects, birds and other mammals to thrive. Click on any of the pictures below to view a slideshow of some large mammals in the Sandhills.
Bison 1
Bison 2
Deer 1
Deer 2
Deer 3
Deer 4
Deer 5
Elk 1
Elk 2
Elk 3
Elk 4
Elk 5
Elk 6
Elk 7
Pronghorn 1
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