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Scores of bison transferred from Yellowstone National Park to Fort Peck Tribes

Release of 55 Yellowstone bison on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in 2019; photo by Jacob W. Frank of the National Park Service
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Posted at 10:38 AM, Feb 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-16 10:31:47-05

GREAT FALLS — During the week of February 5, 2024, the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) moved 116 bison from Yellowstone National Park to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Poplar. The bison transferred to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation included 108 males, four females, and four calves.

The NPS said in a news release: “The Bison Conservation Transfer Program continues to make history, having relocated the largest number of live Yellowstone bison to American Indian Tribes in the world.”

Since 2019, a total of 414 Yellowstone bison have been transferred to the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes at Fort Peck. The tribes started their Yellowstone herd by accepting bison that completed the 2005-2012 pilot study. The number of bison transferred each year includes:

  • 2019: 93 bison
  • 2020: 11 bison
  • 2021: 50 bison
  • 2022: 28 bison
  • 2023: 116 bison
  • 2024: 116 bison

Nearly all of those bison and their offspring have then been further distributed to 26 Tribes across 12 states in partnership with the InterTribal Buffalo Council.
This recent transfer is the result of several agencies working together, including the NPS, Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, APHIS, the State of Montana, InterTribal Buffalo Council, Yellowstone Forever, Defenders of Wildlife and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. Click here to learn more.

Here is video from 2019 showing transferred bison being released: