It's time to return the American buffalo to the northern plains. Nearly wiped out by hunters in the 19th century, the few wild bison left now live almost exclusively in the grasslands of Yellowstone. The president could ask the Department of the Interior to reintroduce the bison to parts of the northern plains, such as Montana's 1-million-acre Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. "The president needs to say, let's finish the job with wildlife restoration in this country and bring back the bison," says Kit Fischer of the National Wildlife Federation. Cattle farmers worry that the bison would compete with cows for grass, but researchers expect them to make the ecosystem healthier overall, and to bring in money. Hunting and wildlife tourism contribute over $900 million to Montana's economy and provide more than 10,000 jobs. It makes ecological and economic sense for a region that relies heavily on agriculture and an oil-and-gas boom that has huge ecological consequences.
Credit: Brian Brewer/Getty Images
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