News Release

655 bison from Badlands National Park distributed to multiple Tribes

Bison caught in chute while biologists are in contact with the animal
Biological Science Technician, Paul Roghair, inserts a microchip while Wildlife Biotech Jeff Tillery hands supplies to him. Amy Bandel, DMV, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, confirms the animal's sex.

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News Release Date: November 7, 2022

Contact: Milton Haar, 605-433-5260

BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, S.D. – Badlands National Park completed the largest bison gathering operation in park history in October 2022. Approximately 1,600 animals were gathered and processed (microchipped, weighed, tested for health) with 655 yearlings and two-year-old bison sent to new homes. Bison that were not distributed to Tribes were released back into the park.

“The operation was very successful, safe, and critical to meeting the resource goals for the National Park Service to return the herd to the target sustainable level,” said Deputy Superintendent Brenda Todd. “This was the largest bison gather and distribution in park history, and it was conducted humanely, safely, and ended in transfer of bison to multiple Tribes.”

The park strives to complete a regular gather operation every year to help manage the population, but bison gathers were suspended in in 2021 due to COVID-19 and other challenges posed by managing a large and wild bison herd. Excess young bison are distributed through agreements and partnerships to Native American Tribes and other government agencies to help develop strong conservation herds and to support traditional uses of bison. The park manages one of the most highly sought-after bison herds in North America because of its genetic integrity and diversity. After this operation, Badland’s bison population is approximately 1,000 animals.

In coordination with the Oglala Sioux Tribe and Intertribal Tribal Buffalo Council, approximately 655 animals were distributed to Tribes (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Oneida Tribe, Wisconsin, and Oglala Sioux Tribe). Over the years, Badlands National Park has distributed more than 6,000 bison, helping to restore the animals to their native homelands.

Last updated: November 8, 2022

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