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wildlife

Bison at the Stephens Creek Capture facility north of Yellowstone Park in 2015.
Jim Peaco (PD)

On Monday the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's Michael Wright reported that more than 570 Yellowstone National Park bison have been killed so far this winter. The Park is trying to reduce the size of its bison herd from an estimated 5,500 animals to about 3,000.

The annual slaughter happens as part of compromise between the Park Service and State of Montana, which says bison numbers need to be controlled to prevent the spread of the disease brucellosis to cattle. It's controversial, and there is an alternative.

Joining us now to talk about it is Amy Martin, who spent the last year reporting on bison for her podcast: Threshold.

Threshold Episode 04: Tatanka Oyate

Feb 23, 2017

In episode four of Threshold, we meet Robbie Magnan of the Fort Peck Tribes. He believes his community can prosper in the future by reconnecting with their roots as the Tatanka Oyate — the buffalo people. Magnan has built a quarantine facility that could be an alternative to the Yellowstone bison slaughter, but right now it sits empty while more than a thousand bison are being culled from the herd. Why? We'll learn more about Magnan's vision for bison restoration, and investigate why some people are opposed to it.

Bison being released at Fort Peck Reservation, November 2014.
Courtesy of the Defenders of Wildlife

Tribal members and wildlife groups were among those asking lawmakers today to consider a bill to change how bison can be moved and sold. The bill proposed by Rep. Willis Curdy, a Missoula Democrat, would remove an existing requirement for wild bison be cleared as free from brucellosis before being transferred.

Threshold Episode 03: Born Free

Feb 16, 2017

Many cattle ranchers view wild bison as a threat to their livelihoods. But some think cattle and bison can coexist. On episode three of Threshold, you'll meet two cattle ranchers with different perspectives on wild bison — and, we'll take you on a controversial bison hunt.

Montana Bill Would Make Hunting And Fishing A Constitutional Right
PD

A bill in the Montana Legislature would ask voters to decide whether the Montana Constitution should establish hunting, fishing and trapping as "a right essential to pursuing life’s basic necessities."

Threshold Episode 02: 'The Red Man Was Pressed'

Feb 9, 2017

How did we go from more than 50 million wild bison to just 23 free-roaming animals? And how does the decimation of the herds relate to the oppression of Native Americans? Find out on this episode of Threshold.

Threshold Episode 01: For The Benefit And Enjoyment Of The People

Feb 2, 2017
Find out why hundreds of Yellowstone bison are slaughtered each year, on this episode of Threshold.
Amy Martin

Yellowstone National Park is where we saved the American bison from extinction. But each year, we slaughter hundreds of animals from this prized herd. Why? Find out now on the first episode of Threshold.

Lawmakers in Helena are considering a bill that would give each Indian tribe in the state two free licenses per year to hunt buffalo.
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-2.0)

Montana is known for tall mountains, deep valleys, and expansive forests, but most of the state is comprised of vast prairie landscapes that were once home to thundering herds of American bison. Scientists and historians believe that bison in North America numbered between 3 and 6 million prior to their government-ordered extermination in the late 1800s. Millions of bison were slaughtered simply for their tongues and hides.

Each season, Threshold podcast explores one story from the natural world, and what it says about us. Season one focuses on the American bison. Dig into the history of the American bison, from their arrival in North America, to current controversies surrounding their management today. 

Subscribe to Threshold podcast now via iTunes, and most other podcast apps, or using your own player: http://thresholdpodcast.libsyn.com/rss. You can also listen online at http://www.thresholdpodcast.org

Northern Yellowstone Elk Numbers Stabilizing

Jan 24, 2017
Elk in Yellowstone National Park
Jim Peaco/Yellowstone National Park (PD)

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — State and federal biologists say elk numbers in the northern part of Yellowstone National Park have stabilized after a long-term decline.

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