BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal officials have given preliminary approval to a conservation group's contentious proposal to expand bison grazing on public lands in north-central Montana. The Bureau of Land Management said the proposal for to allow bison on grasslands south of Malta would not have significant environmental impacts. That sets the stage for possible final approval of the American Prairie Reserve's plans following a two-month comment period. The Bozeman-based group in 2019 scaled back the amount of land covered by its proposal following opposition from ranchers who worry about being pushed out of the area.

LOOK: Stunning animal photos from around the world

From grazing Tibetan antelope to migrating monarch butterflies, these 50 photos of wildlife around the world capture the staggering grace of the animal kingdom. The forthcoming gallery runs sequentially from air to land to water, and focuses on birds, land mammals, aquatic life, and insects as they work in pairs or groups, or sometimes all on their own.