Montana wildlife reserve won't get park bison because statewide plan for animals not done

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BILLINGS, Montana — State wildlife officials have dropped from consideration a private wildlife reserve in north-central Montana that was seeking to receive relocated bison from Yellowstone National Park.

Montana Wildlife Bureau Chief Ken McDonald said Wednesday the American Prairie Reserve near Malta was eliminated from consideration pending the adoption of a statewide bison conservation plan.

That document is expected to be completed sometime next year.

The 145 bison slated for relocation went through an experimental program to establish new herds of disease-free bison outside Yellowstone.

Four entities remain in the running to receive the animals.

They are the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of Montana's Fort Peck Indian Reservation, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma along with the Wildlife Conservation Society Zoo Consortium, which wants to place bison in the Bronx and Queens zoos and a conservation park in Ohio.

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