Montana Judge Issues Restraining Order Against Further Bison Transfers

A judge has issued a restraiing order preventing further transfers of Yellowstone buffalo to the Fort Peck and Fort Belknap Indian reservations.

Just days ago, American Indians of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation joyously welcomed 62 pure strain buffalo transferred from Yellowstone National Park.

A story on the event posted to this site earlier today quoted numerous sources -- some Indians, some not -- who saw the transfer as a long overdue restoration. Said Iris Grey Bull, a Sioux member from Fort Peck, "This is a historical moment for us. We’re rebuilding our lives. We’re healing from historical trauma."

In remarks delivered at the release site near Poplar, Montana, Governor Brian Schweitzer described buffalo as "the heart and soul of the Indian people," and touted the return of "that symbol of pride, not only of the Indian people but this entire country."

But some local ranchers were not so thrilled, and sought a restraining order to block the transfer as soon as they got wind of it. Their first effort was denied -- the bison were moved, as scheduled -- but a second try at thwarting the spread of buffalo has met with some success.

According to an AP report, a judge today issued a restraining order that forbids further relocations of buffalo. Those already brought to Fort Peck will not be sent back to Yellowstone. But the plan to move about half of them to the Fort Belknap Reservation is now on hold, and dozens of bison temporarily quartered at Ted Turner's ranch near Bozeman, Montana, look to be staying on the media mogul's property a bit longer than expected.

A hearing has been scheduled for April 11.