Monday, 24 August 2015

Bison in Yellowstone: What can the US do with its surplus animals as herds continue to grow?

Since mid-May five visitors have been hurt - gored, trampled or tossed into the air


YELLOWSTONE 

Sunday 16 August 2015

Even for a park with a history of unhappy encounters between people and wildlife, 2015 is shaping up as an eventful year for Yellowstone and its bison. Since mid-May, five visitors have been hurt – gored, trampled or tossed into the air – in run-ins with the park’s most famous residents.

The tourists all came away with treatable wounds. For the bison, however, the year’s brushes with humans did not always end as well. Since January, more than 500 of the woolly beasts – the most in years – have been chased on to trucks by government workers and hauled to slaughterhouses. Some 200 others that wandered off park grounds were rounded up in a similar fashion or stalked by hunters and shot. Next year’s numbers are expected to be still higher, a consequence of a surging population and strict rules that park officials themselves find difficult to carry out.

“It is hard to watch,” said Rick Wallen, Yellowstone’s lead wildlife biologist for bison, describing the methods used to capture and restrain the animals. “But we do it as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

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