The Issue: Bison Population Resurging from Near Extinction
Ice Age survivors once numbering 30 million to 60 million in North America, bison declined rapidly as American expansion pressed westward in the 1800s—by 1902 fewer than 50 wild bison remained. Since then the remote Pelican Valley of Yellowstone National Park has provided a refuge for those last wild bison. Due to the efforts and support of numerous advocates like WWF, bison are now making a remarkable recovery, and there is an opportunity for descendants of those last wild bison to come home to the great plains of Montana.
The Campaign: Funding Fencing for Bison Habitat
For every $15 donation, World Wildlife Fund can purchase 10 feet of fence to help create a home for bison on their ancestral lands on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. The reservation needs a total of 3.75 miles – 20,000 feet – of fence to create a large enough habitat for 40 wild bison in a grassland ecosystem where their ancestors once roamed. The region surrounding the reservation supports cattle ranches that need to be separated from the bison, a species that WWF classifies as "near threatened." Over time, the herd will reproduce in their protected area and grow to more than 400 animals, enough to prevent inbreeding and help the herd survive. The bison once served as a vital part of Native American culture, health, and economy, and by carving out a place for them to live on the reservation, they can again contribute to the tribe’s wellbeing. The cost to purchase 3.75 miles of fence is $30,000; an additional $10,000 is needed to plan and organization construction of the fence, bringing the total cost of this bison conservation project to $40,000. Patagonia is matching donations up to $20,000 to help WWF purchase and construct the fence. Thus, if at least 1,334 people donate $15 each to raise more than $20,000, with a matching donation of $20,000 from Patagonia, WWF can build the entire fence. Any donations received above $20,000 will go toward other WWF conservation efforts in the U.S. Northern Great Plains region.
All donations will be matched up to a $20,000 total by Patagonia.
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