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Montana news about the environment, natural resources, wildlife, climate change and more.

American Prairie transfers 45 bison to tribal herds in Montana and Washington

A small group of bison in a field of dried grass and sagebrush.
Mike Albans
A small group of bison in a field of dried grass and sagebrush.

A Bozeman-based nonprofit announced Wednesday that it has transferred dozens of bison to tribal herds in Montana and Washington State.

In recent weeks American Prairie transferred 45 bison to the Rocky Boy reservation and to the Kalispel Tribe in Cusick, Washington.

The Rocky Boy herd was first established last year with help from both the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and American Prairie. The Rocky Boy herd received ten bison this year to strengthen the herd.

The tribe plans to use the bison for “food, shelter, clothing and cultural education.”

American Prairie provides bison to tribal herds every year and has sent 350 animals to tribes since 2005. The organization says all animals were tested for disease and received a clean bill of health.

American Prairie has been working to build a 3.2 million acre reserve for bison and other wildlife in north-central Montana. Some ranchers and state Republican politicians have pushed back against the nonprofits’ efforts, in part due to their concerns about bison spreading disease to cattle.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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