Biologists have, for the first time, begun transfering female bison out of Yellowstone National Park in a new program to build other herds. The animals will be retested for disease before release. Chamois Andersen with Defenders of Wildlife says the bison in Yellowstone are highly prized as direct descendants of the original herds, “We will nowhere see the 30 million wild bison on the plains like Lewis and Clark did back in the early 1800s. But if we can build these herds, we’re doing everything we can to bring it back. Yellowstone bison are of high genetics in terms of the wildest herd. And any entity right now on the plains that has a wild herd of bison wants Yellowstone bison.”
Last Tuesday, 14 cow-calf pairs were taken from Yellowstone to be retested for brucellosis at a state-of-the-art veterinary facility built by the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. The females then will be released to herds in places that could benefit, such as the Fort Peck, Fort Belknap and Blackfeet Indian Reservations in Montana, the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming and Wind Cave and Badlands national parks in South Dakota.
Photo:NPS / Jacob W. Frank