Thursday 7 January 2016

Government agencies plan to eliminate 900 wild bison from Yellowstone

JANUARY 6, 2016

by Brett Smith

Government agencies are planning eliminate as many as 900 wild bison from Yellowstone National Park this winter as part of a continuing attempt to reduce the animals' annual migration into Montana by lowering their population.

On Tuesday, park officials unveiled information on plans for a minimum of 600 to 900 bison to be culled by hunters or captured and sent to slaughter. The move would be the biggest culling since 2008, and it represents greater than 18 percent of the existing population of around 4,900 animals.

Bison travel each year from Yellowstone down to their historical winter grazing grounds at lower altitudes in Montana. For the past four decades, concern over the bovine disease brucellosis has motivated the killing of approximately 8,200 park bison.

National Park Service 'uncomfortable' with the practice
Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk said in a statement that the National Park Service was uncomfortable with the practice and considering alternatives, including sending disease-free animals to private, government, or tribal lands.

"The park would gladly reduce the frequency and magnitude of these operations if migrating bison had access to more habitat outside the park or there was a way to transfer live bison elsewhere," Wenk said.

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