Yellowstone Bison Transferred to Tribes

Written by on August 27, 2019

55 male bison were transferred from Yellowstone to Fort Peck, Montana, tribes last week, which partners say is a historic step for bison conservation.

Yellowstone superintendent Cam Sholly says the transfer of the bison is the culmination of years of work by the Park Service, the tribes, the state of Montana, and other agencies.

The bison had completed Phases I & II of the brucellosis quarantine protocol at Yellowstone and will finish assurance testing, or Phase III, at Fort Peck.

Since it is against Montana state law to move wild bison exposed to brucellosis anywhere except to meat processing and research facilities within the state, Yellowstone officials say the quarantine program is critical to getting brucellosis-free animals out of Yellowstone and onto a larger landscape.

The animals had been captured at Stephens Creek in the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park in March 2018. Last week, they were transferred to the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Poplar, Montana.

Tribal Chairman Floyd Azure says the Yellowstone buffalo are important to Tribes because they are the genetically-pure descendants of the buffalo their ancestors lived with, adding that the return of the buffalo is a return of their culture.


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