The North American bison was hunted nearly to extinction by the late 1800s. When Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872, only about a dozen remained in the 2.2 million acre park. The park started a breeding program that involved bringing in bison from other parts of the country for genetic diversity. In the 1950s, the park had bred approximately 1,000 bison, dismantled the breeding facilities and turned the animals loose. Today, there are about 4,000 bison in Yellowstone and another 500 in Grand Teton National Park.
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