Yellowstone National Park today said it will begin capturing wild bison on Monday. Several hundred animals will be transferred to tribal groups for slaughter this year.
Over 300 Yellowstone bison have already been killed through hunts so far this year. Starting Monday, the park will re-open the Stephens Creek capture facility, and between 300 and 600 animals will be sent to slaughter houses in coming weeks. State and federal wildlife and livestock managers set that target number with the goal of keeping the Yellowstone herd to a total population of approximately 4,000 animals.
“We are looking to the future.”
Jody Lyle of Yellowstone National Park says the controversial ship-to-slaughter program could be revised this year.
“We just really want to find other solutions other than culling bison on the boundary of Yellowstone National Park.”
One of those potential solutions is to find more areas outside of the park where bison are tolerated on the landscape. An experiment in greater tolerance will take place on Horse Butte, on the west side of the park, later this spring. But on the north side, the annual cull will continue until a new Interagency Bison Management Plan is enacted. That plan is currently being rewritten, and citizens around the country will be invited to comment on it next fall.
In related news, the National Park Service extended the public comment period for its proposed bison quarantine program for another two weeks.
A goal of the quarantine proposal is to reduce the number of bison shipped to meat processors. Its alternatives include either setting up a quarantine facility inside Yellowstone National Park, or shipping the animals to the Ft. Peck reservation.
Other goals include reducing the risk of transmission of brucellosis from bison to cattle, and supporting the culture and nutrition of Native Americans.