The new bison herd at Minneopa State Park near Mankato is settling in.

The bison were released at the park in late September.

“The bison are pretty much using the whole range. There is the portion near the center of the range that they tend to spend a significant amount of time at, so they must like the vegetation there than at other places. But they are moving all around in the park,” said Gary Teipel, Minneopa State Park manager.

The bison herd’s movement there from Blue Mounds State Park is part of a collaborative effort between the state Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Zoo that began in 2012. The 11 bison came from an existing herd at Blue Mounds and from the zoo, according to the DNR. Part of the preservation plan is to grow the current bison herd at Blue Mounds to 500 animals, which will then occupy several locations. Minneopa is the first of those locations, according to the DNR.

Teipel said a “bison drive” through the 330-acre range at Minneopa will open to the public later this month once there is sense that the animals are at ease around vehicles. Currently, Teipel said, people can hike around a portion of the bison range.

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