MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. — Twenty-eight Yellowstone bison found a new home on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Poplar, Montana as part of the Bison Conservation Transfer Program Jan. 12.
The program is a partnership between the National Park Service, State of Montana, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes. Its goal is to save brucellosis-free bison from the slaughter by giving them a new home on the Reservation.
All 28 bison transferred yesterday complete Phases I and II of the brucellosis quarantine protocol and will finish assurance testing at Fort Peck.
The program has led to the largest transfer of live Yellowstone bison among Native American Tribes in history. Since 2019, 182 bison have gone to the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Of those, 82 animals were transferred to the InterTribal Buffalo Council who distributed them to 18 Tribes in 10 states.
The bison transferred this week were captured at Stephens Creek in the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park in March 2020. Twenty males completed quarantine in the park and a small family group of eight (one male, four females, three calves) completed quarantine in the nearby APHIS-leased facility at Corwin Springs. Currently, 67 animals are still in the Bison Conservation Transfer Program and the park and APHIS intend to enter 80-120 new animals into the program this winter.
To expand the program, Yellowstone has partnered with Yellowstone Forever and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition to increase the capacity of the facility within the park from holding 80 animals to 200 animals. Improvements will be completed this winter. These improvements and continued coordination with APHIS will result in transferring about 100 animals a year to Tribal Nations as an alternative to slaughter.