28 Yellowstone bison moved to Montana Indian Reservation

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. — Twenty-eight bison from Yellowstone found a new home on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Poplar, Montana, as part of the bison conservation transfer program on January 12.

The program is a partnership between the National Park Service, the State of Montana, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes. Its objective is to save brucellosis-free bison from slaughter by giving them a new home on the Reserve.

The 28 bison transferred yesterday are completing Phases I and II of the brucellosis quarantine protocol and will complete insurance testing at Fort Peck.

The program led to the largest transfer of live bison from Yellowstone among Native American tribes in history. Since 2019, 182 bison have gone to the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Of these, 82 animals were transferred to the InterTribal Buffalo Council which distributed them to 18 tribes in 10 states.

The bison transferred this week were captured at Stephens Creek in the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park in March 2020. Twenty males have completed quarantine in the park and a small family group of eight (one male, four females, three calves) has completed quarantine at the nearby facility rented by APHIS in Corwin Springs. Currently, 67 animals remain in the Bison Conservation Transfer Program and the park and APHIS intend to enroll 80 to 120 new animals in the program this winter.

To expand the program, Yellowstone partnered with Yellowstone Forever and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition to increase the capacity of the facility in the park from 80 to 200 animals. The improvements will be completed this winter. These improvements and continued coordination with APHIS will result in the transfer of approximately 100 animals per year to Tribal Nations as an alternative to slaughter.

Shannon is a writer and journalist from Wyoming. She recently completed a master’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Jackson molded her into an outdoorswoman, but a love of language and the human condition compelled her to write. She believes there is no story too small to tell and no adventure too small to take.

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Nohemi M. Moore