Denver Donates 33 Bison to Indigenous Tribes

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

The animals are being given to support Native American conservation herds across the country

For the second year in a row, Denver has donated bison to Native American tribes in an effort to help support bison reintroduction and conservation efforts on tribal lands. 

According to 9 News, the City and County of Denver gave 15 American bison to the Northern Arapaho Tribe of Wyoming. It gave 17 to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma. And one will go to the Tall Bull Memorial Council in Colorado.

“For over a century now, Denver has been the proud caretaker of these Bison herds, and we remain committed to their conservation as an integral part of the ecosystem here in the West,” said Michael Hancock, Denver’s mayor. “We’re taking that commitment to a new level, and through this effort with our tribal partners, this is an opportunity to help establish, support, and sustain Native American conservation herds across the country.”

Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) says it will stop holding its auction that it previously conducted annually to keep its Genesee Park and Daniels Park bison herds diverse and at a healthy population size, and will instead continue to send bison to build and enhance conservation herds on tribal lands.

“The bison is not only a vital link to our past as Northern Arapaho, it is essential to our future as we restore this important part of our culture and heritage,” said acting CEO Elma Brown of the Northern Arapaho Tribe. “I am honored to participate in this bison transfer and look forward to these beautiful animals joining our existing herd and returning to the home of their ancestors on the Wind River Reservation.” 

DPR said it will continue donating surplus Denver Mountain Park bison to American Indian tribes or American Indian nonprofit organizations through 2030.

The two bison herds the DPR maintains at Genesee Park and Daniels Park are descended from the last wild bison in North America.

When the first European explorers set foot in America, more than 30 million bison roamed the continent. Bison numbers dropped to fewer than 1,000 by 1900. Thanks to conservation efforts, there are approximately 31,000 free-range wild bison in North America today.

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