Ten More Bison Released on the Wind River Reservation

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The restoration of bison in Fremont County continues as more of them have been released into the Wind River Reservation.

News 13's Raven Ford spoke with Shoshone tribe representatives about the project.

Garrit Voggesser, National Wildlife Federation, Director of the tribal partnerships shared, “There's been a collaborative effort between the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and the National Wildlife Federation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."

Vogesser said it's takes a lot of preparation to move bison to the reservation.

"It’s a constant process throughout the year to have conversations about you know when my buffalo be available to be moved onto the wind river reservation those buffalo have to be examined by a vet."

Eastern Shoshone Tribal Buffalo Representative, Jason Baldes, commented, "We as Shoshone Tribe have gone above and beyond any of the regulatory issues to make sure that adjacent landowners cattle operators and people are not threatened by the present of these buffalo."

Members from the Shoshone Tribe along with people in the community joined last week to release 10 more bison on the Wind River Reservation.

“Buffalo popped out of the truck like their little puppies bouncing around and happy to be free they saw these great landscapes and they just looked happier in and out and that made me feel really happy as well.”

Pat Hnilicka, Fish and Wildlife Service Project Leaders shared, "Just returning those bison to their rightful place on the landscape and how there's so much meaning, again not just towards the animals themselves by to the human element to the tribes that are here. That's new it inter-weaved in their culture for all these centuries it's just a very wonderful complete feeling."

People watched as bison moved into their new home.

Baldes said the bison are an important land asset for natives.

"Buffalo have sustained native people Shoshone people for millennium. Today we had the opportunity to reconnect with buffalo and their so important their essential to our ceremonies. They were life's commissary food clothing shelter in tools everything came from this animal it's like our Walmart. Being able to reconnect our people with buffalo is a way to help us heal from the past but also gives us some hope for the future."

The Wind River Reservation now holds a total of 21 bison including 10 from last year’s release and one offspring.

Tribal representatives said the goal is to have more than a thousand bison return to the Wind River reservation.

They also said it was a great step for it in the right direction.