Western South Dakota is already synonymous with images of bison roaming free in the Black Hills and now a large section of land in the South Central part of the state is being set aside for more of the animals.

According to a report on the World Wildlife Fund website, acres of native grassland on the Rosebud Sioux reservation is being earmarked for what will become North America’s largest Native American owned and managed bison herd.

The proposed Wolakota Range will transform 28,000 acres of land currently used by cattle into an area that will have the capacity to support up to 1,500 bison. By comparison, Custer State Park in the Black Hills has 71,000 acres of land and is home to approximately 1,300 bison.

The Wolakota Range project is a partnership between Rosebud Economic Development Corporation and the World Wildlife Fund with support from Tribal Land Enterprise, the Rosebud Sioux Tribes land management corporation, and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The transition to bison on the land is expected to tale place over the next five years, beginning with the first transfer of bison from the Department of Interior herds will take place in the fall.

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