At least 30 million bison used to roam throughout Montana's Great Plains and America's western prairie habitat. However, decades of overexploitation, habitat loss, decline in genetic diversity, and human conflict has stripped nearly all free-ranging bison from their natural grassland habitat.
Today there are only three truly free-ranging bison herds in the United States: Yellowstone Park (approximately 3,500 bison), and the Henry's Mountains and Book Cliffs herds in southern Utah (about 500 bison).
The National Wildlife Federation is working to return wild, free-ranging bison to their native homes in and around the Charles M. Russell (CMR) National Wildlife Refuge and to tribal lands including Fort Peck and Fort Belknap.
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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.