Over a hundred bison were chosen and sectioned off from the herd in Yellowstone as a means of protecting one of the last herds of bison around. The decision to section off this group was made by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission. It was part of a bigger decision in which a choice had to be made to give the bison to nearby Native American reservations or to different zoos stretching across five different states.
The Native American reservations were chosen over the zoos as the best means of protecting the species from bovine diseases. So the 145 or so bison will be transferred before the end of the year to the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes at the Fort Peck Native American Reservation. The bison that were chosen were originally part of an experiment to see if sectioning them off from other cattle and bison would result in no exposure to the cattle disease Brucellosis. The disease results in cattle being miscarried, which brings both complications to the mother for future cattle and problems with the herd.
Due to the success of the experiment it was decided they needed to be quarantined from the rest of cattle and the choice came down to zoos outside the state of Montana, such as the New York Bronx and Queens zoo, or a later choice of giving them to the Native American reservations in Montana who had shown adequate ability with raising bison and other types of cattle.
Together with the 63 bison that were returned to the Native American reservation from other Montana acts set in place in 2012, the Native American reservations will have a total 200 Bison as a single herd, and will continue to be quarantined from the rest of any other bovine to keep them safe and healthy. Plans are in the works of using offspring from the herd to help replenish other herds such as in Yellowstone.
Either way, it looks like the health and safety of the bison species should be held in tact for a long time to come.