By 1902, only a few hundred buffalo remained in the United States. Most were held captive in zoos or in private ranches. Only 23 survived in the wild, the buffalo were facing extinction. In response to a public outcry, the U.S congress released some captive Bison into Yellowstone National Park to rebuild a wild herd. So now, more than 100 years later, efforts are underway to repopulate the species, as the America buffalo fight back! Today, nearly 2,500 wild buffalo make their home in Yellowstone Park. Its one of the greatest comeback stories in conservation history! The buffalo are fighting back. On 8,900 square kilometers of parkland, they reclaim their place alongside other wild animals that once dominated the American wilderness.
The success story for buffalo goes beyond Yellowstone, today over 150,000 bison are being raised in other parks and ranches across America. In South Dakota, Fred Dubre manages buffalo for the shian river sun reservation. He corrals the herd of wild bison over 80 square kilometers of land. Fred Dubre founded the Intertribal Bison Cooperative to restore the buffalo to public and Indian lands. Through Fred’s efforts, Native Americans now raise over 15,000 buffalo over 400 square kilometers of tribal lands. But it’s not just a case of taking care of the buffalo. Fred also believes that the buffalo helped to take care of the prairie. He says that if you take care of the land, it will take care of you, and if you respect the things on it and take care of it, it shall do the same. He says there is no better way to take care of the land than to take care of the buffalo that are part of the natural ecosystem on the land.
With the return of the buffalo, Native Americans are rediscovering their cultural pride. At pow wows around the country they are reconnecting with their past. Over the last 100 years, their culture had almost disappeared but today it is returning. So in a sense it seems as though the Native American have gotten their fight back as well.