Bison Return to Ancestral Blackfoot Lands

Apr 4, 2016

Credit Michael Gabler / Wikimedia Commons

Up in Montana, the buffalo are back. After almost a century and a half, a herd of North American Bison will soon be welcomed back into Montana’s Blackfeet Indian Reservation—the animal’s ancestral homeland.

As a symbol of their traditions, Blackfeet tribal leaders are welcoming the 89 bison to roam their 4,000 square mile reservation. In 2014, a treaty was signed among 11 tribes in the US and Canada to reinstate to the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains regions. This program is one result of that treaty.

Some nearby ranchers, however, have opposed the plan to reinstate the bison herds. They say they’re concerned the buffalo will spread disease and compete with their own cattle for grass. This fall, the Blackfeet will lend 20 of the new bison to California’s Oakland Zoo for an exhibition.