December 12th, 2018
Bison in the snow Photograph: Neal Herbert/Yellowstone NPSReuters
Bison was the spiritual and cultural symbol of numerous Native American tribes, unfortunately, the bison herd in Montana was massively slaughtered during the Manifest Age. New settlers intended to cut off the life support and faith of tribes during their conflicts. Eventually, the bison population dropped dramatically from tens of millions to extinction within a few decades.
There were 23 bison survived through the slaughter in 19th century in Yellowstone.
Peck Fort tribe was the first one volunteered to bring back these herds. Some tribes gradually built up a economical herd, but in 2012, they brought a herd of about 60 bison from Yellowstone back to the Fort Peck reservation as a cultural herd. Within only a few years, the herd already brought a better balance to the ecosystem, said Jonathan Proctor, the member of Defenders of Wildlife. Now the population grows to approximate 4000 as a wildlife group with no interbred with domestic cattle. More importantly, between 13 tribal nations from Canada and US, represented reservations signed a Buffalo Treaty in 2014, which enhances the significance of bringing back and protecting undomesticated herds of bisons. This treaty increases the returning of buffalo herds back to their original places. For instance, with the treaty catalyzing both Canadian and US parks to re-wild, Y2Y Initiative group agrees to bring back wild bison herds to Yukon’s recreation of wildlife corridor after they were gone for over 100 years. Fort Peck’s goal is to have 2500 buffalo in more than 40000 hectares land as the tribe already found resolution to purchase more land for the herd, despite the widespread poverty. Native American tribes not only actively protect wild buffalo, but also grizzly bears, black-footed ferrets, swift foxes, wolves and other species. “‘It’s amazing … with limited budgets and widespread poverty, [Native American tribes] are the leader in wildlife restoration when compared to the state wildlife agency,” said Robert Magnan, the director of Fort Peck fishing and game department. ‘In reality, it was not the buffalo that left us, it was us that left the buffalo. So we have to do something.’” (check out the original website for more details!)
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YS Ding, Posted on Dec.24 2018