Yellowstone to reduce bison population by 600-900 animals

(Yellowstone) - Yellowstone is planning to reduce the bison population in Yellowstone National Park. According to a release issued by the park this morning, members of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) have signed a winter operations plan that aims to reduce the current population of 4,900 animals. Because the Yellowstone bison population has high reproductive and survival rates, it will be necessary to cull 600-900 animals to offset the population increase expected this year. IBMP managers will decrease the population using two methods: 1. Public and tribal hunting outside the park, and 2. Capturing bison near the park boundary and then transferring them to Native American tribes for processing and distribution of meat and hides to their members. “Many people are uncomfortable with the practice of culling bison, including the National Park Service,” says Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk. “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.” The release states that bison are a migratory species and they move across a vast landscape. When they are inside Yellowstone, they have access to all habitat. But in the winter, when some bison migrate to lower elevations outside the park in search of food, the surrounding states and some private landowners don’t offer the same access to habitat. Wild bison are only allowed in limited areas outside of Yellowstone because some are infected with the disease brucellosis that can be transmitted to cattle. Also, there are human safety and property damage concerns in some areas. The size of the population and the level of tolerance outside the park are two issues often debated by the IBMP partners and their constituents. Information on the IBMP is available online at Additional information about Yellowstone bison and their management can be found at *Feature Photo: Photo by Erni / Shutterstock / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #reboot #news