The Latest: Interior commits to restoring bison on select lands

  • A bison in Yellowstone.


Just a few free-roaming bison herds remain in the West. Roughly 4,000 bison inhabit Yellowstone, but they are hindered by ranchers who fear they spread brucellosis, which can cause cattle miscarriages. The park and state agencies limit the herd's roaming and remove "excess" animals by hunting, slaughter and transplanting to other areas ("The Killing Fields," HCN, 2/06/06). But in 2012, then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar directed his department to identify lands where Yellowstone bison could be relocated.

In early July, the Department of Interior released a report committing to restoring bison on parcels of public and tribal land through collaborative projects. The agency proposes to quarantine Yellowstone bison so that they can be verified as brucellosis-free and be safely relocated to up to 20 locations in the West and Great Plains. It's a big step forward, conservationists said, but the agency still hasn't expressed specific goals for transplants and hasn't consulted adequately with tribes that want bison.

Kirk Hohenberger
Kirk Hohenberger Subscriber
Jul 15, 2014 01:02 PM
I hope this happens soon. We need a restored buffalo population on our native Prairie where they belong. A good choice would be the one million acre CMR wildlife refuge in Montana.
Bob Laybourn
Bob Laybourn Subscriber
Jul 15, 2014 01:14 PM
Seems they are just paying written "lip service" to the Salazar directive.
Marion Dickinson
Marion Dickinson
Jul 15, 2014 03:36 PM
Certainly I would hope both of you could sit on the freeway on you way to work behind a herd of buffalo strolling down the road. Fences mean absolutely nothing to them and they will go where they want to go.
Ronald Smith
Ronald Smith Subscriber
Jul 15, 2014 04:10 PM
Wyoming’s Red Desert where bison existed until the late 1960’s but were ultimately wiped out by ranchers and imported oil field workers would be a great candidate for transplants. Additionally, Wyoming’s Greys River country has been identified by the Wyoming Game and Fish Dept. as another suitable place for bison.
Larry Bullock
Larry Bullock
Jul 17, 2014 02:23 PM
I'll sit on the freeway for bison.
Kyle Gardner
Kyle Gardner Subscriber
Jul 29, 2014 08:51 PM
Fantastic sounding concept, but what we need to do is to move beyond the unfounded idea that bison pass brucellosis to livestock - there is no documented case of this happening. If I'm wrong, please point out the study. Once the disease myth is busted ample opportunities to reestablish wild bison in many places will fully emerge!

We have to keep pushing and advocating for protection/preservation/expansion of wild bison, for their own right to thrive as a brother species! They deserve our fervent assistance!
Kirk Hohenberger
Kirk Hohenberger Subscriber
Aug 01, 2014 05:24 PM
Ranchers freaked out when Ted Turner bought his ranch in Montana ,and put Buffalo on it. All the fear and disasters they said would happened, never materialized! Ranchers don't own the world. Some hypocrisy ,they always tell us that the government should not tell them what to do on their land ,but yet they want to tell everybody else what we can on our land. The public should be able to put Buffalo on public land, or private ranchers on their own land ,if these buffalo get out, then they should be held liable for any damages.Buffalo didn't bring brucellosis cows did.