FRYBURG, N.D. - A roundup of 182 bison in the south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park has been completed early with little stress on the animals or people involved, the park superintendent says.
"We did it in two days instead of three because of the weather," park Superintendent Valerie Naylor said Thursday. Rain and sleet began as the roundup was finishing up, she said.
Of the 182 bison, 77 were returned to the park and 105 were shipped - two to the Bismarck zoo, 18 to a buffalo park in Jamestown and the rest to four American Indian tribes, Naylor said.
"It went very well," she said. "The helicopter was able to bring them in, basically at a walk for most of the time. We ran them through the chutes, we weighed them, we checked them out."
All the bison tested negative for brucellosis, and there were no serious injuries, she said.
"We finished up just as the rain and sleet started," she said. "We had the buffalo loaded up and shipped out or back to the park by then."
The park's south unit has about 245 bison now, Naylor said.
"We try to manage between 200 and 500," she said. "There's room for that herd to grow over the next four years."
Bison went to the Three Affiliated Tribes, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe in North Dakota and to the Blackfeet tribe in Montana, she said.
The park provides bison to the tribes through the InterTribal Bison Cooperative.
"If it wasn't for the Park Service, there are a lot of tribes that wouldn't have buffalo," said Raymond Jetty, a member of the Spirit Lake tribe.
A spokeswoman for the cooperative, Christine Reed, said the tribes are happy with the park bison.
"Overall, I love this roundup. It's one of my favorite ones to go to. I think they do a great job here," Reed said.
The cost of the roundup is paid by the recipients of the bison, Naylor said. It has not yet been tallied, she said.
"We'll figure up the total cost of the roundup and then we'll divide by 105," Naylor said. "We come out even and the tribes and other recipients get bison at a low cost."