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Fort Peck Tribes Leaders Restore Bison on Reservation

One hundred and thirty-six wild Yellowstone bison—free of cattle genes—reclaimed their historic home in the Northern Great Plains when released into the Fort Peck Indian Reservation’s cultural buffalo reserve.

These bison join an existing Fort Peck herd that was relocated from Yellowstone in 2012. The Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck will now manage almost 200 genetically pure bison, the largest Yellowstone bison conservation herd in Montana outside of the national park.

“Fort Peck Tribes have demonstrated clear leadership in bringing bison home to the Great Plains,” said Dennis Jorgensen, WWF’s bison initiative coordinator. “This is a monumental step in realizing their vision of restoring the relationship between their people and bison. WWF sees unique value in supporting efforts to build thriving Tribal communities in the plains through the restoration of bison and the bison economy.”

WWF, along with the Fort Peck Tribes, InterTribal Buffalo Council, Defenders of Wildlife, and National Wildlife Federation, has been a long-time proponent of restoring disease-free, wild Yellowstone bison to the Northern Great Plains. Bison used to number in the tens of millions in North America, but westward expansion decimated their numbers.

WWF helps identify opportunities to create places where bison can thrive in large herds on vast landscapes. We're working with tribal partners and national parks to establish at least five herds of 1,000 bison in the Northern Great Plains by 2020.

Learn more about bison.