This is a significant milestone for the restoration of genetically pure bison and a critical step forward for returning these animals, which migrated out of Yellowstone Park, to parts of their historic range across the Great Plains.

The tribes of Fort Peck and Fort Belknap Reservations have repeatedly offered to welcome the bison back. For this we owe these tribes and the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission our sincere gratitude.

Returning these animals to tribal lands will allow at least some of Yellowstone’s bison to escape the government-led slaughter that has occurred in the past decade when bison have migrated out of the Park in winter in search of forage.

More innovative strategies need to be developed as an alternative to slaughter and as a way to restore genetically pure bison to the wild beyond the confines of the park. These are the most genetically important bison in the United States and should not be killed needlessly, especially when there is plenty of suitable habitat available.

Governor Brian Schweitzer Deserves Some Credit Too

Even Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who is not always known for his conservation practices, deserves some credit here. Earlier this year, Governor Schweitzer issued a surprise executive order overruling the decision of a federal judge just one day earlier that had cleared the way for the National Park Service to execute hundreds of bison, half of which are believed to be carrying the disease brucellosis.

Brucellosis is harmless to bison but can spread to cattle and cause pregnant cows to spontaneously abort. And even though there has never been a documented case of a wild bison infecting a cow, the risk is too great for Montana’s cattlemen, arguably the state’s most powerful political lobby.

Now that this plan has been approved, there will be continuing work to support more free, wild bison.

by Judy Molland

Responses to "Genetically Pure Bison Saved From Slaughter"

  1. Anonymous says:

    how do they know that brucillas is spread to cows causing death if there is no documentation proving this

  2. Anonymous says:

    wonderful news

  3. Deb Sanford says:

    The killing of wildlife because it's "in the way" needs to stop. We are destroying ourselves each time we destroy a wild animal.

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