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Back from Brink: Elk and Bison Roam Again in Eastern U.S.

They have been absent from so many places, for so long, that many Americans assume they were never there.

But now, for the first time since the 19th century, small herds of elk and bison have returned to the eastern half of the country. Even so, for two of America's most iconic big-game animals, the homecoming has been slow, controversial and anything but assured.

Reintroductions of both species have gathered momentum in recent years, as various groups have sought to bring them back to portions of their original ranges. Some of those efforts have been much more successful — and...

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