QUAPAW — More than 30 bison that have been roaming the Grand Canyon National Park’s northern reaches have just joined a herd here in Ottawa County, thanks to the Quapaw Nation.

Officials came up with a plan two years ago to reduce the herd at the national park, partly by corralling the animals and shipping them elsewhere. That’s how 31 bison ended up loaded in multiple livestock trailers and on their way to Ottawa County and the Quapaw Tribe.

Several other bison were fitted with tracking devices and released back into the park.

“The plan is to let them acclimate for a while. Then they will be DNA tested to determine if they will be added to the current herd,” said Tena Smith, Quapaw Nation executive office manager.

Hundreds of the animals have made their home at the Grand Canyon in recent years, where officials at the park say they are harming the landscape and spoiling water sources.

Descendants of ones introduced to northern Arizona in the early 1990’s, the bison are part of a crossbreeding experiment. To the dismay of some, the state allows hunting of the buffalo on neighboring national forest land.

For more information, contact the Quapaw Nation at 5681 S. 630 Rd., call 918-542-1853 or log onto www.quapawtribe.com