© Sandy Sisti
Bison gained rights to some of their old stomping grounds on the Great Plains when the Montana Supreme Court in June reversed a lower court ruling that had prevented their return.
Tribes at Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana had been waiting to restore wild bison to their lands ever since 61 bison from Yellowstone National Park returned to Fort Peck Reservation in 2012. Bison opponents had gone to court to prevent more transfers. Defenders intervened in the case on behalf of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and in August, 34 bison set foot on Fort Belknap. The wild bison are descendents from the last 25 or so still in the wild in the late 1800s after market hunters nearly drove the species to extinction.