June 30, 2016 8:14 AM EDT

Millions of bison, sacred to Native Americans, once blanketed the Great Plains. But by the start of the 20th century, the animals had been hunted to near extinction and were thought to be a lost cause. A dedicated public and private conservation effort has nurtured a revival, and today hundreds of thousands of bison range across parts of Wyoming, Nebraska, the Dakotas and Montana, like this herd at Ted Turner’s Flying D Ranch on June 14.

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