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

Briefs: Buffalo roam the Blackfeet Nation; Comment on state grizzly bear plan


Blackfeet Nation releases buffalo on tribal lands bordering Glacier National Park
Aaron Bolton | Montana Public Radio

The Blackfeet Nation released roughly two dozen free-roaming wild buffalo onto tribal lands bordering Glacier National Park Monday. It’s the first time the landscape has seen buffalo in over a century.

The bison were released on tribal lands near Chief Mountain, which borders the national park. Blackfeet Tribal Business Council Vice Chairman Lauren Monroe Jr. said it’s an act of tribal sovereignty and rights historical wrongs.

“Saying the Blackfeet are in charge here, we’re in charge of our homelands, this is what we’re going to do, this is how we’re going to do it, and we don’t have to ask permission to be Blackfeet anymore,” Monroe said.

The federal government led a campaign in the 1800s to wipe buffalo from the landscape. The intent was to gain leverage over tribal nations by pushing them into hunger.

Monroe said the tribe plans to monitor how the herd reproduces and the impact the keystone species’ return has on other wildlife. The tribe hopes the herd will eventually grow large enough for tribal hunts but will also be an economic boon for tourists eager to catch a glimpse of buffalo not seen on these lands for 100 years.

State officials seek input on proposed changes to management of grizzly bears
Victoria Traxler | Montana Public Radio

Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks is asking for the public’s input on changes to the state’s plan for managing grizzly bears.

The proposed changes direct how grizzly bears will be managed if they are delisted as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. They include bear mortality quotas and permissions for landowners to kill bears attacking livestock.

The new language was drafted by lawmakers and passed into law during the 2023 legislative session. FWP invites members of the public to comment on the drafted language during their committee meeting Aug. 17. The meeting will take place at 8:30 a.m. at the Montana State Capitol and virtually via Zoom.

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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