TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Yellowstone park bison welcomed to new home on reservation in Montana

AP
Some of 34 genetically pure bison run down a ramp as they are released onto a 1,000-acre pasture on Fort Belknap Reservation on Thursday. The relocations are part of an attempt to establish new bison herds while curbing the periodic slaughter of the animals when they leave Yellowstone. (AP Photo/The Great Falls Tribune, Rion Sanders)

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, 8:33 p.m.
 

FORT BELKNAP, Mont. — Bison once helped sustain Native Americans on the plains of Montana. Now Indians on the Fort Belknap Reservation say it's time they returned the favor.

About 150 people gathered on Thursday to watch as 34 genetically pure bison from Yellowstone National Park were released on the reservation about 16 miles south of Fort Belknap, the Great Falls Tribune reported.

The bison rumbled out of cattle trucks to the cheers of onlookers and disappeared across the prairie land.

“I wouldn't miss this — gosh,” said Patty Quisno, a tribal council member.

The relocations are part of an attempt to establish new bison herds while curbing the periodic slaughter of the animals when they leave Yellowstone.

Bison “helped us, our ancestors, survive out here on the prairie,” said Mark Azure, who heads the tribe's bison program. “So to be able to take that next step and return the favor, so to speak, it feels good.”

Last year, the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department transplanted 70 bison from Yellowstone to the Fort Peck reservation in northeastern Montana, with the intent that half of the animals would be taken to Fort Belknap, about 180 miles west.

Some ranchers challenged the move, fearing the bison could spread disease and compete with cattle for grazing. But earlier this summer, the Montana Supreme Court ruled the transfers were legal.

The bison released Thursday tested negative for brucellosis and were released in a 1,000-acre pasture with an 8-foot fence. One cow was injured and was not released.

Tribal councilman Mike Fox said the tribe will manage a herd of about 150 bison and use them as seed stock for other tribes or agencies wanting to reintroduce bison on their land.

The tribe has a commercial herd of 500 bison that have cattle genes and are kept in a separate pasture.

Fox said bison disappeared from the Fort Belknap area around 1910.

“It's a homecoming for the animals,” said Fox.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. FBI investigates celebrities’ nude photo claims
  2. Ferguson police begin wearing body cameras
  3. Anti-abortion law in effect in Louisiana, with a caveat
  4. President’s Labor Day appearance heavy on politicking
  5. Surveillance video in Wal-Mart police killing sought
  6. New heart failure drug works much better than current treatment, study finds
  7. Mom charged in girl’s death in line for $1M from her trust fund
  8. New heart drug seen as significant breakthrough
  9. Judge reaffirms Texas’ ‘Robin Hood’ system of school funding unconstitutional
  10. Ferguson sued over police actions amid riots
  11. Hot-sauce company offers tours to irritated neighbors
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.