Yellowstone bison may find new tribal homes

Printer-friendly version

Relocation plan could help Montana tribes restore conservation herds


  • -
HELENA, Mont. (09/15/2011) -

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) released today a draft plan for relocating about 150 long-quarantined, disease-free Yellowstone bison. If approved, the genetically-important bison would be moved later this year from quarantine facilities near the park to four interim sites in Montana: two state wildlife management areas and two Native American reservations. The moves are an interim step pending the development of a statewide bison conservation strategy.

The following is a statement from Jonathan Proctor, Rocky Mountain representative for Defenders of Wildlife:

“It’s great to see that Montana intends to work with the tribes of Fort Peck and Fort Belknap Reservations to bring some of America’s most genetically important bison back to tribal lands where they once thrived. Bison belong there.”

“Restoring herds of Yellowstone bison to tribal lands and other natural areas is a critical step in overall bison conservation. These tribes are willing and ready to accommodate these bison, providing a unique conservation model for future efforts to conserve this iconic species. Wild bison should be an integral part of America’s future, not just a relic of our past.”


The EA contemplates sending up to 40 bison to the Fort Peck Reservation and up to 40 bison to the Fort Belknap Reservation, as well as additional bison to two state land areas. The Assiniboine and Sioux tribes at Fort Peck, with support from Defenders, prepared a 5,000-acre reserve for the Yellowstone bison. The Assiniboine and Gros Ventre tribes at Fort Belknap have plans for a 22,000 acre-reserve for Yellowstone bison, and will prepare this area once the state approves the plan. Comments on the EA are due by 5 p.m. on Oct. 14. FWP intends these moves as an interim step while they complete a thorough statewide bison conservation strategy that may identify additional areas for permanent restoration of wild bison. That plan is expected to be completed no later than the end of 2015.


Read Montana FWP’s press release and new background information on bison

Click here to download the draft Environmental Assessment

Learn more about Defenders’ efforts to restore bison across the West


Jonathan Proctor, 406-549-4103
John Motsinger, 202-772-0288

You may also be interested in:

Bison, © Walter Novak
Take Action
Montanans want wild bison in the state, but some local politicians are pushing hard to block wild bison restoration. They are raising unfounded fears about bison and pushing agendas based on politics, not science. They are accommodating a few special interests and ignoring the majority of Montanans.
Florida Panhandle (Apalachicola National Forest), © Julie Tew
Fact Sheet
The Florida Panhandle is one of the most biologically diverse regions of the world. From dense pine forests, seepage streams and major rivers, to coastal marshes and pristine beaches, it is home to a wide array of key and endangered species, including gopher tortoises, sea turtles, manatees, red-cockaded woodpeckers, eastern indigo snakes, migratory birds and numerous species of fresh water mussels.
Carpenter Bee,  © Helena Jacoba/Flickr
In the Magazine
Bee Basics for Your Backyard