Internship Opportunity: Yellowstone Buffalo Program Tribal Internship

The Bison Conservation Transfer Program relocates Yellowstone-origin bison to American Indian tribes. Some bison migrating out of the Yellowstone National Park are captured and entered in a multiyear quarantine for the disease brucellosis. Animals are initially held in a fenced facility near the park boundary. Upon their brucellosis-free certification, animals are translocated to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation for one year of additional screening to ensure every animal is brucellosis-free. Thereafter, the Fort Peck Tribes coordinate with the InterTribal Buffalo Council to distribute animals to American Indian Tribes across North America.

National Park Service staff care for animals in the program. This proposal supports two six-month internships for American Indian students to work alongside NPS staff in caring, handling, and testing bison held within the park facility. Interns will learn low-stress-bison-handling techniques. Interns will learn USDA regulations for marking and tracking individuals in ways that allow their interstate transfer. Interns will complete brucellosis tests, necropsy animals, and dart immobilize animals. Interns will also work with NPS biologists to study the wild bison population within the park, gaining real-world experience in conserving wild, healthy bison herds and monitoring for sustainable habitat. Student interns will bring back skills to their tribes to support bison conservation on tribal lands.

The Yellowstone bison American Indian Internship Program is a partnership between the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council, Yellowstone National Park, and Yellowstone Forever.

Timeline and Benchmarks
March 14, 2022: Applications Due
(Resume and Letter of Interest – send to
Internships take place between May 1-Oct 1, 2022

This is a paid internship ($15/hr, 40 hrs/wk for ~22 weeks). Applicants must provide their own vehicle to commute to the work location. Shared housing will be provided, and includes a shared kitchen with two separate bedrooms (as available)

Major Duties
• work in close coordination with the quarantine facility manager to learn handling techniques, monitor bison in pens, feed animals, and complete minor facility improvements
• work in small pens with wild bison using low-stress handling techniques
• field anesthetize bison after calving within quarantine pastures
• perform brucellosis tests
• necropsy animals to collect tissue and blood samples
• complete daily checks assessing herd health of animals within quarantine pastures
• work alongside field crew of 4-6 biological science technicians completing measuring grazing effects on plant communities, including measuring plant growth, completing plant inventory samples, collecting soil and plant samples, and installing small grazing exclosures
• complete ground-based surveys of the bison herds

Call Megan at 605-394-9730 with any questions