Latest: Yellowstone officials to cull hundreds of bison

Meanwhile, Montana released a plan to let bison roam year-round outside the park.


Bison in pens before culling for slaughter.
Jim Peaco

The yearly migration of bison out of Yellowstone National Park to their historic winter range in Montana has created a decades-long conflict with ranchers, who fear the animals will transmit the abortion-causing disease brucellosis to cattle. So the state hazes bison back into the park and captures and slaughters hundreds each winter; hundreds are also killed by public and tribal hunters (“The Killing Fields,” HCN, 2/06/06).

In early January, Yellowstone officials announced that 600 to 900 bison will be culled this winter, about 20 percent of the park’s 4,900 animals. Meanwhile, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has released a plan that takes the first step toward ending the state’s harsh treatment of bison. If agencies and tribes approve the plan, up to 600 of the ungulates will finally be allowed to roam year-round outside Yellowstone, on 400 square miles north and west of the park. Much of the animals’ preferred winter range will still remain off-limits to them, though.

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