The Yellowstone bison population has long been a source of contention as the herd has natural migration pattern that takes the animals outside the boundaries of the park. The bison then have the potential to intermingle with livestock and spread disease to cattle populations. This migration has resulted in the annual culling of the bison herd. Since the 1980's, concern over the spread of brucellosis has prompted the killing of about 8,200 park bison. This practice has drawn criticism from advocacy groups and members of the public. Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk has also stated that the National Parks Service was uncomfortable with the practice as well. The National Park Service has been seeking alternatives, such as sending disease-free animals to other public, private or tribal lands.The National Park Service is now seeking public comment on an environmental assessment and options to relocate the bison. There are three options outlined by the National Parks Service: Alternative 1 is no action. Bison operations would continue as they currently are with no quarantine of bison. This option would continue the culling program. Alternative 2 includes conducting a quarantine program within Yellowstone National Park. Alternative 3 includes conducting a quarantine program on the Fort Peck Reservation this is the National Parks Service's preferred alternative. The environmental assessment can be found here.
Once comments are analyzed, a decision on whether to implement the plan
will be made by the Regional Director of the Intermountain Region of the
NPS. If approved in time, the NPS may implement a quarantine program during
the 2016 bison management operations period.
Comments can be made online here
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