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The Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota on Saturday will begin an operation to reduce its approximate bison population of 700 to 400. The bison will be sent to two North Dakota tribes. 

The rehoming of the bison will take up to a week, according to park officials. Bison will be reduced of varying ages among the herd.O

Once the bison are removed from the national park, the transfer will come under tribal management. Tribes that will receive the bison include the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. 

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Troy Heinert (Sicangu Lakota), a former South Dakota state senator and current  InterTribal Buffalo Council executive director, said the plan is for the bison to provide genetic diversity and increase the size of existing tribal bison herds.

The National Park Service reduces bison population due to concern about increased impacts on park resources such as water, vegetation, soils, archaeological sites, and values such as visitor experience and wilderness character. Reducing the herd size will protect park resources.

The bison reduction project will occur in the park’s South Unit and viewing will be closed to the public for safety concerns.

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