Buffalo could come to the Wind River Reservation

Billings, Mont. – State and federal officials have recommended relocating a small herd of bison from Yellowstone National Park to a Wyoming Indian reservation - part of a bid to restore a species that once numbered in the tens of millions.

The 41 animals are now being held in a federal disease quarantine compound in Montana. If Friday's recommendation is adopted by the state's wildlife agency, they could be moved to the Wind River Reservation by April.

Yellowstone contains the largest and most genetically pure bison in the country following intensive hunting that drove the animals to near-extinction in the late 1800s. Because the park's herds have a high rate of the disease brucellosis, most bison attempting to leave Yellowstone in recent decades have been shot or slaughtered.

The bison to be relocated have tested negative for exposure to the disease.