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Yellowstone Bison: Annual Culling Proposal Calls for 1,000

Image: Yellowstone Bison: Annual Culling Proposal Calls for 1,000
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By    |   Thursday, 19 Nov 2015 01:45 PM

Yellowstone bison, which currently number around 5,000, could see a culling of the herd this winter by park officials to the tune of 1,000.

"No formal decision has been made, but the park proposal is for 1,000 fewer bison," park spokeswoman Amy Bartlett said, according to Reuters

For many years, park officials have been worried that the bison might migrate to Montana during the winter months in search of food, and potentially infect cattle herds with brucellosis, a bacterial disease.

The herd is culled annually, and killing 1,000 of the animals would be the largest single reduction since 1,600 were euthanized in 2007. A total of 700 were culled last year.

This year's proposal calls for delivering the 1,000 targeted bison — mostly females and calves — to local Native American tribes for slaughter.

Brucellosis can cause pregnant bison to miscarry, and has caused a longtime debate between animal rights advocates and Montana ranchers.

If snowfall is light, the bison are predicted to range near, and may not ever wander into Montana.

"You can't predict how many bison will go into the trap," Montana state veterinarian Marty Zaluski said. "Nature has a way of defying your best expectations."

"Killing these buffalo is shameful," Jimmy St. Goddard, a spiritual leader of the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, "Some 30 to 60 million buffalo once roamed the American West," however, "severe hunting during the 1800s decreased the population to 325 individuals."

Some park officials have argued that the Interagency Bison Management Plan is outdated.

"We believe we’ve outgrown it — new data about general biology and disease prevalence are available, and public opinion is shifting toward more tolerance for bison and Montana," the National Park Service explained in response the current management plan. "We need a new paradigm that accommodates larger herd sizes and allows bison to move more freely on suitable public lands in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem."

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Yellowstone bison, which currently number around 5,000, could see a culling of the herd this winter by park officials to the tune of 1,000.
yellowstone, bison, proposal, kill, park
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2015-45-19
Thursday, 19 Nov 2015 01:45 PM
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