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Yellowstone Bison: Room to roam at last?
Latest News: Thanks in large part to GYC’s effort to secure more habitat for bison outside Yellowstone National Park, today bison are roaming north of Yellowstone in the Gardiner basin. The Montana Supreme Court recently declined to hear an appeal brought by Park County to prevent habitat expansion in the Gardiner basin. Our nation’s wild bison will now continue to have access to habitat north of the Park boundary when they migrate each winter!
Overview: For more than a half-century, Yellowstone bison were the only wildlife in the U.S. largely confined by the boundary lines of a national park. Now, we might be closer to having this treasure trove of genetically pure wild bison roaming free outside of the park's boundaries year-round.
Wild bison from Yellowstone National Park are some of the most intensely tested wildlife in the country. Because some of the Yellowstone bison herd carries the disease brucellosis -- a disease that can abort calves in ungulates like cattle -- many cattle ranchers in Montana are worried about bison transferring the disease to their cattle. It gets complicated, however, because elk carry the same disease and they aren't tested. Moreover, it has never been proven that bison have ever transferred the disease. Even so, wild bison are often captured and tested when they wander out of Yellowstone and into the state of Montana.
After all the testing, when Yellowstone bison are repeatedly proven to be disease-free, some bison have been allowed to be transferred to appropriate lands, including two Indian Reservations in Montana: Fort Peck and Fort Belknap. In 2012, 62 arrived at Fort Peck, Later that year, a judge prohibited other bison to be transferred to Fort Belknap. But in 2013, the Montana Supreme Court cleared the way for 34 of those Yellowstone bison to arrive at Fort Belknap Indian Reservation
The winter of 2007-08 is still fresh in our minds when nearly 1,600 wild Yellowstone bison were captured and hauled in trucks for slaughter at meatpacking plants. The transfer of wild Yellowstone bison to Fort Peck, Fort Belknap and other suitable landscapes across the West will help ensure we never see a repeat of this atrocity again.
Project goals: We are working toward a day when Yellowstone bison can roam freely on appropriate public and private lands through policy changes by federal and state agencies and wildlife managers, retirements of cattle grazing operations, and negotiations with landowners.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
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VIDEO: Watch this video on our work to protect bison.
Download a printable synopsis on our bison work here.
Download a printable PDF map of the bison's historic and current range here.
Download this map, which explains the current management situation for bison.
April 04, 2014 - See it! Yellowstone bison roaming free in Gardiner Basin!
April 01, 2014 - FWP seeks proposals for disease-free Yellowstone bison living on Turner ranch
March 29, 2014 - State, feds to develop new Yellowstone bison plan
March 21, 2014 - A possible solution to park bison problem
March 20, 2014 - Yellowstone bison expansion plan still viable in Montana