112 Yellowstone Bison Transferred to Fort Peck Tribes

During the week of January 10, the National Park Service (NPS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) completed the transfer of 112 Yellowstone bison to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Poplar, Montana. The movement of these animals constitutes the single largest transfer to date under the park’s Bison Conservation Transfer Program. The program has led to the largest relocation of live Yellowstone bison to American Indian Tribes in history.

Since 2019, a total of 294 bison have been transferred from Yellowstone to the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes at Fort Peck. Approximately 170 of those bison have then been further distributed to 23 Tribes across 12 states in partnership with the InterTribal Buffalo Council.  

The bison transferred last month were a large family group of seven males, 53 females and 52 calves. All completed Phases I & II of the brucellosis quarantine protocol at Yellowstone National Park and the APHIS facilities and will finish assurance testing (Phase III) at Fort Peck.

This transfer is the result of many partners working together: the NPS/Department of the Interior, Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, APHIS/United States Department of Agriculture, the State of Montana, InterTribal Buffalo Council, Yellowstone Forever, Defenders of Wildlife and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

Yellowstone National Park partnered recently with Yellowstone Forever and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition to more than double the capacity of the facility within the park. The park and APHIS intend to enter 250 new animals into the program this winter.

“We greatly appreciate the tremendous number of partners who have come together to make the Bison Conservation Transfer Program a success,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “It is important we continue to look for opportunities to build on the success of this program in order to move larger numbers of disease-free bison to Tribes across the country, while also achieving our future goal of eliminating shipments to slaughter.”

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