Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer described the bison transfer as a major step in efforts to restore Yellowstone's genetically pure animal across more of the country, reported the Associated Press.
"This is where we're going to establish the beachhead of genetically pure bison that will be available as their numbers grow to go to other reservations and other public lands all across the West," Schweitzer said, according to the AP.
Since crossing over Yellowstone's northern boundary during their winter migration, the bison have been quarantined for several years, reported USA Today. All are free of brucellosis, which ranchers feared could be transmitted to cattle, although the disease is rare in the United States, and which can also cause females to abort fetuses. Ranchers are also concerned the bison will compete with their livestock for rangeland.