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National Bison Range Moiese Mt
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© CT-Graphics - Christine Till
The history of the bison, or buffalo, in the Flathead Valley began 1873 when Walking Coyote, a Pend d' Oreille Indian, returned from Blackfeet Country on the plains with five orphaned calves. By 1890, of the 30 to 70 million bison that once roamed the plains, less than 100 remained in the wild and overall there were fewer than 1,000 left. Having been part of a Federal government sponsored program of eradication during the Indian Wars, thereby removing a vital food source from the Plains Indians diet, and ensuring easier relocation onto Indian reservations, buffaloes were almost extinct.
In 1908 the National Bison Range (NBR), the only federal wildlife refuge for buffalos, was established in western Montana to provide a sanctuary for the American bison.
January 25th, 2011
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