64 Yellowstone Bison Headed for Montana Tribal Land
The stalled plan to repopulate the West with bison moved forward today, as 64 American icons from Yellowstone National Park were being transported to the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana, the Associated Press reports.
Tribal and state officials approved the transfer late Friday, but to avoid a court injunction the date was not revealed, said Robert Magnan, a tribal official with the Fort Peck Fish and Game Department.
Previous transfers failed because of opposition from ranchers and a lack of suitable tribal or public land. In January, landowners sued in state court to block the transfer, and this afternoon a Helena lawyer sought a restraining order to halt the move.
The genetically pure Yellowstone animals have been quarantined for several years since crossing over the park’s northern boundary during their natural winter migration. All are free of brucellosis, which can the females to abort fetuses. Though the disease is rare in the United States, ranchers fear bison could transmit it to cattle. (It can also infect goats, pigs, dogs, camels and people.) They also worry that the bison will compete with their livestock and livelihood for range land.