Forty Montana bison belonging to the Assiniboine and Sioux at Fort Peck are going to be relocated to other Native-American reservations all over the country including Alaska.
The bison relocations are a co-effort by the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes and the InterTribal Buffalo Council to avoid the needless slaughter of Yellowstone's herd also to beef up (no pun intended) the herds of Native-American tribes throughout the nation. As Robert Magnan, director of the Fort Peck Tribes Fish and Wildlife Department told the Great Falls Tribune, ""Buffalo have always been the economy of Native Americans. Now, they can be part of our economy again, but in different ways, like attracting tourism."
Most of the bison will be making the trip on the road in cattle cars but the bison bound for Alaska will be driven to Seattle and loaded onto cargo planes. Of course, before setting out from Fort Peck they were all tested for brucellosis and quarantined upon arrival from Yellowstone.
The transfer is also significant because while many North-American bison across the country have been bred with domesticated cattle at some point in their lineage, the Yellowstone herd are genetically-pure. Native-American stewardship will not help to ensure the survival of that once-threatened animal.
One thing is for sure. We hope those bison are flying first class because if they're in coach they're going to be cramped.