Dozens of bison have been relocated from the Grand Canyon’s North Rim and sent to Native American tribes in the Great Plains.
A recent two-week roundup led to the transfer of 57 bison to the InterTribal Buffalo Council, Grand Canyon National Park officials said.
The bison then were transported to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Kansas, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, the Santee Sioux Tribe in Nebraska and the Modoc Nation in Oklahoma, park officials said.
The Grand Canyon bison are descendants of those introduced to northern Arizona in the early 1900s as part of a ranching operation to crossbreed them with cattle. They now roam almost exclusively in the far northern reaches of the Grand Canyon.
The park released a plan in 2017 that calls for reducing the herd of about 400 to 600 bison to around 200. The plan calls for a mix of corralling the animals near the highway that leads to the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, and for skilled volunteers to shoot a certain number of bison inside and outside the park.
The Grand Canyon plans to move forward with lethal options in 2021, but the details haven’t been worked out, park spokeswoman Joelle Baird said Thursday. A handful of tribes have said they’re interested in participating, she said.
More than 30 bison were rounded up in a pilot program last year and sent to the Quapaw Tribe in Oklahoma.
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