Refuge Joins the Bison Conservation Initiative, Ends Auction
September 11, 2020
Earlier this year, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced the 2020 Bison Conservation Initiative (BCI), and reaffirmed the Department of the Interior (DOI) commitment to conservation and restoration of wild American bison. The initiative will coordinate conservation strategies and approaches for the wild American bison over the next 10 years. The DOI and its partners have been successfully restoring populations of bison and supporting healthy herds across the nation. This plan is poised to guide collaboration between the DOI and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with states, tribes, and other conservationists and land managers to advance the conservation of bison across the nation.
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, along with other public lands managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management, plays a vital role in the conservation of American bison. Consistent with the BCI and ongoing Bison conservation efforts, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge has ended the annual Bison Auction. The annual Bison Auction operated for 49 years and offered surplus bison for sale to the public.
Refuge Manager David Farmer stated, “I know this may come as a disappointment to some of our public as the Bison Auction is a beloved tradition. However, this transition supports the long-term preservation of the species and bison herds throughout the nation. Through the BCI, the Refuge continues its commitment to a healthy, genetically diverse bison conservation herd for all Americans.”
In 2020, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge joins the rest of the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) in providing 100 percent donation of surplus bison to conservation partners, including tribes or intertribal organizations. This provides for the consistent management of surplus bison throughout the NWRS, supports conservation of the species, and assists in the restoration of self-sustaining bison herds on conservation partner lands, including tribal lands.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.